You probably don’t need us to tell you that the last year or so has been incredibly hard for all of us. The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyone’s lives in so many different ways, and for many, it seems as though this strange and devastating period of history will never end. But life will not always be this way, and it’s important for us all to keep hope.
For this single mother, who lost her job and home due to the pandemic, hope was something she struggled to maintain. She had no food for her children to eat, they didn’t have a proper roof over their heads, and she had just $12 left in her pocket. But that didn’t stop her 8-year-old son from taking that money and spending it on something that would change all of their lives forever.
This Single Mom Had Been Struggling To Keep Her Family Afloat Even Before the Pandemic
Although single mom Berenice Pacheco from East Los Angeles was hit hard by the pandemic, she had already been struggling for years prior. In fact, the mother of three who originally hails from Mexico had been struggling for many years to keep her family fed and sheltered.
Over the years, Berenice had struggled to maintain a steady job and a steady stream of income, and this forced her to make some tough decisions. In 2018, she felt like she had no option but to send her 10-year-old daughter back to Mexico to live with her grandparents. Although Berenice wanted nothing more than to keep her children together, she knew it was for the best.
But When the Pandemic Hit, Things Became Even Worse for Berenice and Her Children
Considering how difficult life was for Berenice and her children before the pandemic hit, the restrictions, lockdowns, and overall consequences of coronavirus made things even worse. Like many people, she was severely impacted by the pandemic, and she ultimately lost her job.
Although she hadn’t been earning a lot before this change of circumstances, she had always been able to scrape by and make sure that she had enough money to feed her family and put a roof over their heads. But then everything changed. And with absolutely no income and no support system to help her, Berenice and her family felt the full force of the pandemic.
Before Too Long, They Had No Choice but To Move Out of Their Apartment
With no job and no money coming in, it was a scary time for Berenice. Her main priority was keeping her family safe, secure, and happy, but this was proving to be difficult. But with no way of paying her rent, she ultimately had to make the decision to give up her apartment. She relied on homeless and domestic abuse shelters to house her family instead.
Berenice noted that this was one of the hardest things she had ever done as a mother. She stated that “When I lost my jobs, I didn’t get a stimulus, I didn’t get unemployment. I was on my own and I would stay up at night trying not to cry so my kids wouldn’t hear me.”
After Months of Living in Shelters, They Found a More Permanent Place To Sleep. But It Wasn’t a Home
Berenice knew that she couldn’t raise her children in shelters, but she still hadn’t been able to find another job. So, she tried to come up with a solution that would allow them to leave the shelter and find somewhere more permanent. She eventually found them a shed to live in, but it was extremely hot, there was only one bed, and they had no bathroom or internet.
However, it was the best that Berenice could provide at that point in time. She knew it wasn’t a perfect alternative, but it was one that at least kept them all safe and secure under one roof. During this time, Berenice also confessed that “we really only had things like tuna to eat, because we didn’t have a kitchen and we could only cook by putting a small electric stove on a chair outside.”
Berenice Could See That Her 8-Year-Old Son Was Struggling After This Drastic Change in Their Lives
Berenice tried to make the most of their new living situation for the sake of her children, but it wasn’t easy. Before their lives had turned upside-down, her 8-year-old son, Aaron, was always happy and energetic. He was the kind of young boy who loved life and was excited about every new opportunity. But she could see that this change of circumstances was affecting him.
Berenice knew that their life in the shed was bringing him down. It was hot and cramped in the place they were forced to call their home, and Aaron had no space to play or be the young boy that he was. His mom hated to see him so down and upset, but she just didn’t have any spare money to get them out of the shed or even buy him a toy to cheer him up.
More Than Anything, Aaron Was Missing the Small Treats His Mom Used To Buy Him
It seemed as though Aaron was struggling with all aspects of their shed life, but more than anything, Berenice could tell that he was missing the small treats that he used to receive. Before they lost their apartment and his mom lost her job, Aaron loved nothing more than a big bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. That was a treat he enjoyed more than anything.
When his mom was still working, Aaron would regularly ask her for $3 so he could head to the ice cream store and buy himself a bag of his favorite Cheetos. Berenice knew how happy this bag of chips made her son, and she wouldn’t think twice about giving her son the money. But times had changed since then.
Berenice Would Have Given Him the Money To Buy Cheetos if She Could, but She Had Higher Priorities
Aaron’s mom knew how much her son wanted to go to the ice cream store and buy himself some Cheetos, and she wished she could give him the $3 to do so. But life wasn’t like how it was before, and Berenice could barely afford to buy normal food for the family – let alone a treat for just her son.
Berenice knew that Aaron didn’t need the Cheetos, but she still felt like she had let her son down. She couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt, but she ultimately knew that she was making the right decision. She noted that “It’s just $3, but when you have kids and you don’t have a job, it can make all the difference.”
With the Weeks Dragging on, Berenice Was Beginning To Really Struggle for Money
As days became weeks and weeks became months, Berenice was still unemployed and the world was still under lockdown restrictions which made finding a new job even harder. Although Berenice no longer had any huge bills to pay for, she also had no money coming in. Her pockets were becoming increasingly empty, and she was really starting to struggle for money.
In fact, at one point she only had $12 left to her name. And while one of her children was being taken care of by her grandparents in Mexico, she still had two children at home who needed to be fed, watered, and looked after. She was becoming increasingly worried about the future of her family.
While His Mom Worried, Aaron Racked His Brains and Wondered What He Could Do To Help
With his older sister in Mexico and with a younger sister going hungry, Aaron knew that he had to step in and do something to help his family. Not only was he the man of the house, but he knew that his single mom was struggling without any outside help. He wanted his life to go back to normal, so he had to do something about it.
More than anything, Aaron wanted Cheetos back in his life. He was craving the treat he always used to love, and he couldn’t wait for the day that he could eat them once again. But he just didn’t know how to get there. He was only eight years old… Where was he supposed to get money from?
He Eventually Came up With an Idea, but He Needed Money To Put This Plan in Motion
After trying to figure out how he could change his family’s circumstances, Aaron came up with an idea. But while he thought the plan was great, he needed to convince his mom. And more importantly, he would need her last $12 to put this plan in motion. It was a tough ask, but it was one that Aaron believed would truly pay off.
To begin with, Berenice was extremely skeptical. How could she give away her last $12? That was all the money she had in the world, and she was relying on that money to feed her family and keep them safe until their circumstances hopefully changed. But there was something about Aaron’s excitement that lit a fire in her. Reluctantly – but with a little bit of hope – Berenice gave her son the money.
Aaron Bought Something From the Local Market, Spending His Mom’s Last $12 in the Process
With the $12 in his pocket, Aaron could put his plan into action in the hopes that he would make some money. But what was his plan? Well, to begin with he made his way to the local market. While there he bought a few succulent plants. He spent all $12 on this purchase, and he really hoped he had made the right decision.
With these succulents in tow, Aaron made his way around the local neighborhood and asked residents whether they wanted to buy them. Amazingly, they were all gone by the end of the day, and he even bagged himself a $4 profit in the process. Aaron was over the moon to see that $4 in his hand.
Aaron Sold His Plants, Made a Profit, And Bought Himself The Treat He Had Been Dreaming Of
Aaron was so excited to hand the $12 back to his mom after his plant-selling adventure, but he was even more excited to have an extra $4 in his own pocket. Although he knew in the back of his mind that the $4 should have gone to his mom, he was soon on the way to the ice cream store.
In fact, he bought himself the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos he had been dreaming of for months, and he enjoyed every mouthful knowing that he had paid for them himself. He was incredibly proud of himself, and while the Cheetos were tasty and just as delicious as he had remembered, there was something about this moment that didn’t feel right. He just didn’t feel satisfied.
Aaron Wondered Whether He Could Do More To Help His Family, as His First Plan Had Gone So Well
With a stomach full of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Aaron began to wonder whether he could earn more money. After all, he had already been able to make a $4 profit using just $12. If he could make even more money, he could buy more Cheetos on a regular basis and could also help his family out in the process.
The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he had to follow through with his idea on a much larger scale. Although he had originally only intended for his plant-selling adventure to be a one-off, the 8-year-old began to wonder whether he could make it into a fully-fledged business. He just needed to get more flowers involved.
The 8-Year-Old Decided To Start His Very Own Business Which He Called Aaron’s Garden
Aaron knew that everyone loved plants, and he knew that there was a way to make money from them. After all, he had already done so with the $12 worth of succulents. So, he decided to set up his very own business and sell even more plants from the sidewalk. He called this new business venture ‘Aaron’s Garden.’
When speaking to CNN about this decision, the young boy said that “Our shed was hot and crowded and I wasn’t happy. I started my garden so my mom won’t be stressed because I don’t like seeing her struggle.” Amazingly, Berenice also got on board with her son’s plan, and they soon invested the rest of their money into the idea.
Aaron and His Mom Put a Lot of Hard Work and Dedication Into This New Business Venture
What’s so incredible about Aaron and his plan is that he was all in. He didn’t just want to sell a few plants here and there. Instead, he wanted to make a lot of money so he could change his family’s circumstances. And while he knew it would be possible, he also knew that it would take a lot of hard work and dedication.
So, every day for months, Aaron and his mom would wake up at six in the morning and catch the bus to the flower district to stock up on plants. He made sure to choose different plants that he knew his customers would like, and he mixed up his selling locations. Sometimes he sold the plants from a pop-up store on the street, and other times he sold them from his shed.
The Young Boy Would Use an Old Cart To Carry All of His Plants To His Pop-Up Stores
As the days passed and Aaron was able to drum up even more customers, he began to make an impressive profit. But by this point, he wasn’t just doing it for the money. Aaron was having fun with his new project, and he even found an old cart to carry all of his plants to his pop-up store every single day so he could continue to grow the business.
After filling up this cart with plants, Aaron set up tables and enticed the local neighborhood to check out his products. Every single day he would bring in new customers, and every single day he would walk away with extra money in his pocket for his mom and his family. He was doing an amazing job, but things were only going to get better.
Business Was Already Booming, but Aaron’s Mom Decided To Take the Venture One Step Further
Just a few months into Aaron’s Garden, the 8-year-old had already become a well-known presence within the East Los Angeles area. Everyone had heard about the little boy selling plants at the side of the street, and everyone knew that he worked so hard every single day to provide for his family. The business really was booming.
And Berenice was extremely proud of her son. But she felt as though his growing business deserved even more recognition, so she decided to set up a social media presence for her son. She created an Instagram page, and friends and family soon began tagging him and showing him their support. Before too long, his Aaron’s Garden Instagram page and his business as a whole had gone viral.
Aaron Was Overwhelmed With New Business, and He Soon Had Enough Money To Move Out of the Shed
In fact, Aaron was overwhelmed with requests from people on social media who wanted to buy his plants. Not only was he selling wonderful products, but he was also selling a story – and everyone wanted to contribute to his family and help them in any way they could.
As he continued to work, he was able to raise enough to help his family move out of the shed. At just 8 years old, he had been able to start a business that paid for a brand new apartment for his mom and his sister, and they were finally able to move out of the hot and crowded shed and move somewhere that actually had a working kitchen.
A Tip From One Customer Was Able To Bring the Whole Family Back Together Again
Many customers were so touched by Aaron’s story and his hard work that they often paid him more than the price of the plants. This money went straight to his mom, and she appreciated every dime. But there was one particular customer who went above and beyond with their tip, and they changed Aaron and Berenice’s lives in more ways than one.
That’s because this customer gave the family a tip of $1,000. This took them all by surprise, and they couldn’t quite believe it. When the news truly sunk in, Aaron and his mom didn’t have to think twice about what they were going to spend it on. They used the money to buy a plane ticket for Aaron’s older sister, and they brought her back home from Mexico.
Despite the Amazing Results, Aaron and His Mom Were Quick To Note That Their Business Success Hadn’t Been Easy
There was no doubt about the fact that Aaron’s Garden had done extremely well in such a short amount of time, and we have to remember that he was just 8 years old when he first started his business. Running a business is no mean feat for a fully-fledged human, let alone a young boy. And Aaron and his mom wanted to showcase this other side on his social media.
The duo posted this photo on Instagram, noting that it was often tough to work such long days and in the blazing heat – and that sometimes they did struggle throughout the day. But they also posted that, “Yes we wake up early and take busses and wait in the sun for hours to go back and forth but it’s worth every single part of our beginning.”
Inspired by His Story, the Community Rallied Around To Help the Family Even More
Despite their setbacks and their bad days, Aaron and his mom continued with the business and Aaron built a reputation for himself as the man with the plant power. He was an inspiration to locals and those on social media, and it didn’t take long for the community to rally together and show their appreciation for the 8-year-old.
People across the globe were amazed to see how a boy was putting all of his efforts into helping his family, and they wanted to take some of the pressure off him. So, one of the locals in his area decided to set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes that they could provide the family with some extra cash to keep them afloat.
The GoFundMe Target Was Set at $1,000, but They Quickly Surpassed That Number
When the GoFundMe page was set up, the target was initially set at $1,000. This would have gone straight to Aaron, his mom, and his sisters, but when the target was reached… the numbers just wouldn’t stop climbing. Aaron and his garden had become a viral sensation and everyone was talking about him. And when they heard there was a fundraiser involved, they wanted to help.
At the time of writing, the amount raised for Aaron and his family has surpassed $68,000 – a huge amount of money for a mother and her children who were once living in a shed. Berenice may have lost her job, but they wanted to show her that she no longer needed to worry.
Everyone Was Amazed at How a Young Boy Could Change His Family’s Life So Drastically
While there’s no doubt about the fact that the kindness of strangers allowed Aaron, his mom, and his sisters to move out of their shed – and even bring back his older sister from Mexico – much of this was all down to Aaron. After all, he had been the boy with the plan, and it was this plan that sparked such inspiration.
At just 8 years old, Aaron had started a business with just $12 behind him, and his story truly resonated with those who heard it. While he could have just sat back and dealt with the tough times ahead, Aaron chose to be proactive and earn money for his family. Not only that, but he also had another surprise up his sleeve just for his mom…
As Aaron Continued To Make Money, He Decided To Buy His Mom a Little Something To Show His Appreciation
When Aaron and his family moved out of the shed and into the apartment, Aaron could also move his business premises. Instead of selling plants on the side of the street, Aaron could sell them out of their new garage – and all of the extra time and space meant that he could buy even more plants and make even more profit.
And with this money, he decided that he wanted to treat his mom. She had always tried her hardest to keep him and his sisters safe, happy, and healthy – and it was about time that he gave something back. Especially because he didn’t want to catch the bus to and from the flower market anymore. So, he bought her a car.
As Well as Treating His Mom, Aaron Also Decided To Spoil Himself and His Sisters
For the first time in forever, Aaron and his family were not scraping by on their single mom’s wages. They had enough money to rent an apartment big enough for them and Aaron’s business, and they had extra money left over to buy luxury items. And as Aaron had worked so hard, he often opted to treat himself and his sisters.
He bought his sisters toys and games, and he has since shown off many of these purchases on social media. But perhaps one of his proudest purchases came in the form of this scooter. Aaron had always wanted a scooter, but his mom had never had the money to buy him one. Now, thanks to his own hard work and determination, he was finally able to afford one.
Aaron’s Social Media Following Grows Larger Every Single Day, Just Like His Bank Account
Even though Aaron bought his first succulents in the middle of 2020, that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to thrive throughout 2021. In fact, his social media following continues to grow every single day – and it seems as though people just can’t get enough of his idea and his success.
Despite all of the battles he has faced over the course of his life, Aaron chose to push through adversity and face the consequences of the pandemic head-on. Now with almost 32,000 followers on social media, he has been able to reach out to customers across California and the world to bring in even more money. And things just seem to be getting better and better.
Even Big Companies Have Wanted To Get Involved in Aaron’s Business
But it’s not just independent shoppers and plant lovers who have bought into Aaron’s Garden. In September 2020, Nike donated hundreds of shoe planters for the young entrepreneur to sell at his pop-up store. Aaron and his mom were overwhelmed with the generosity, and they couldn’t believe they were partnering with such a big brand.
Aaron sold the planters with succulents inside – the plants that first inspired him to take his business to the next level – and they sold like hotcakes. Since then, other businesses both local and international have reached out to the family and offered to help in various different ways.
The Whole Experience Has Changed Aaron’s Life
While it was Aaron’s idea to start the business, he had no idea just how much it would change his life. With a newfound sense of purpose and meaning, Aaron has been able to excel outside of his plant business. Thanks to the support of his family, friends, and complete strangers, he has been able to fall back into his happy-go-lucky lifestyle.
Aaron will never take this new money for granted, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t splurge every now and then. With celebrities calling him up to congratulate him and talk shows inviting him onto their stages, Aaron has had to do a little shopping. He would never have dreamt of wearing a white suit like this one a few years ago, but just look at him now.
But More Than Anything, He Has Made His Mom Extremely Proud
Aaron has been able to do so much at just 8 years old, and while those who have heard his story are impressed, none are as proud as his mom. Berenice’s son helped them out of a seriously worrying situation when she lost her job and her apartment, and that’s all partly down to his love of Cheetos! But also his hard work and determination.
Berenice has spoken about her pride, noting that “I admire him for everything he has been able to do that I haven’t as a mom. I think the best thing for me, well, everything has been the best, but is that Aaron got to reunite us with his older sister with the money he received…. And he’s like the man of the house.” He’s certainly had an incredible life so far, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.