A photo of a little boy inspired the Internet to do something incredible

When you hold on to your dream tightly and work hard, anything is possible. That’s what nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera has been teaching the world.

But let’s back up. It all started a couple weeks ago on June 23rd, when Facebook user and college student Joyce Gilos Torrefranca uploaded two grainy pictures to Facebook. “I got inspired by a kid,” Joyce captioned the photos.

Why was she inspired? Because her pictures featured a small child, who turned out to be Daniel, working on a school assignment. Good student, right? No, AMAZING student, because he was kneeling on a bench outside at night, working on his schoolwork by the light from the McDonald’s next door.

Turns out that McDonald’s sidewalk is Daniel’s study nook. . . because he has nowhere else to go. ABS-CBN News found Daniel, who is in the third grade, at a nearby eatery in Cebu, Philippines, where his mother and sibling work. The family is homeless due to a house fire. Daniel’s father passed away in 2013, and one of Daniel’s three siblings is ill. Yet, Daniel is still 100% determined to study hard and fulfill his dream of being a policeman.

“For me as a student, it just hit me a lot, like big time,” Joyce said, according to ABS-CBN News. “I seldom go to coffee shops to study. And then this kid, he doesn’t have anything but he has dedication to study.”

Daniel’s mother, 42-year-old Christina, makes only 80 pesos a day at the store, according to Yahoo. That’s only $1.77 for a whole day’s work. She also sells cigarettes and candy on the streets of an urban center in the Central Philippines. Christina is not alone—approximately one-quarter of the Philippines’ population live on less than a dollar a day, and there are massive slums in every major city.

According to Christina, working by the light of a McDonald’s is very characteristic of Daniel, as he is an incredibly hard worker. “He is a very studious and determined boy,” she explained to AFP. “He would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give. . . He always tells me: ‘Mama, I don’t want to stay poor. I want to reach my dreams’.”

The Facebook post has been shared over 7,000 times, and Daniel’s story was shared on local television. Eventually, it spread over the world. Now, Daniel will most certainly be reaching his dreams after donations of money, school supplies, and even a college scholarship poured in. People have even given school clothes (and a reading lamp, so no more McDonald’s reading for him!). “We’re overjoyed. I don’t know what I will do with all of these blessings,” Christina told the AFP. “Now, Daniel will not have to suffer just to finish his studies.”

The local government social welfare office and the church have also received financial aid after Daniel’s story went viral. “Our problem is how to manage all this financial assistance,” the city’s social welfare office chief, Violeta Cavada, told AFP. “[Daniel] has become a symbol of poor slum boys in the city who can’t study because they don’t have electricity.”

This story made us cry happy and sad tears. We know that the smart, hard-working, and dedicated Daniel will achieve everything he’s ever dreamed of. We can’t wait until the day we see him defending and protecting the streets, decked out in his police uniform. It’s so beautiful to see people come together to make the world a better place, one family at a time.

[Image via Facebook]

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