This Latina's Whole TikTok Is About Suprising Street Vendors With Hundreds In Cash
Spreading positivity. Supporting vendors.
Inspired by the "Buyout Challenge," Viridiana Serrano made a series of TikTok videos buying bouquets, paletas, and snacks from vendors and paying with $100. Her videos sparked a movement that is hundreds of donors and thousands of dollars strong.
Viridiana Serrano has dedicated her TikTok, get.it.like.v, to making life a little better for street vendors.
In each video, Viridiana hits up a local vendor, buys a paleta, fruta, or ramo of flores, and then pays with $100, or several hundred dollars, telling vendors to keep the change.
And no, she is not "rich."
Viridiana, Vee to her friends, is a student, on scholarship at Ottowa University, where she is double majoring in Business and Education while holding down three jobs. She just wants to show love to the vendors who bring joy to so many of us.
Some vendors are speechless. Many break down in tears.
"Why?" they all ask.
"You're here working," replies Viriana to a woman selling fruit, "you deserve it."
One vendor, an abuelito, even asked her if she was married. When she said no, he replied "May God send someone to love you."
Vee can only share a minute's worth of her interaction on TikTok, but she spends time checking in with each vendor, asking about their stories, their family - and vendors are eager to share with someone who cares.
And they are excited when they get to see their videos, letting Vee know that they've been getting more business and donations as a result. She's even been contacted by a vendor's daughter, to thank her for helping her mom and making the video.
Viridiana has been able to support more vendors - with even bigger bills - thanks to people who have seen her videos and been moved to donate to Viri's Venmo.
"I just want to say thank you again to everyone who has been sending me money on Venmo to help even more vendors. Today, I will actually be giving out to TEN people, because, I will be giving out $1,000 bucks today," says Viridiana with a smile in a video from July, 21st. "Five bucks here, $5 there, it always adds up...it doesn't go unnoticed."
After posting a video about a paletero who told her that his 94-year-old mother broke her hip, people donated $2,000 to help him pay for her hospital expenses.
Viridiana says she started recording, "to inspire others to do the same, especially during these hard times that everyone is going through."
"I also think there's just so many violent videos out there that we see on a daily basis whether it's police brutality vendors getting robbed or beaten and taken advantage of - I just wanted to show some positive videos so that people don't lose hope in humanity," she says. "And, if it wasn't for me recording, I wouldn't be getting the donations I'm getting now."
Vee says she really didn't expect her videos to blow up like they did.
"Originally I didn't even have my Venmo up and after my second video people started asking for it. I was very skeptical on putting it up simply because I didn't want people to think that I was cashing in the money." But, the requests kept pouring in, so she finally realized she needed to share it.
Of course, the haters immediately popped up in the comments, but Vee isn't phased.
"People are always going to have something to say, but it makes me so happy that I am able to help out so many more vendors because of how much people are donating. Donations vary from $1-$100. Everything I get goes to them."
After the first few videos, Viridiana takes care not to show the vendors faces, protecting their identities.
Street vendors are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and they have been especially hard hit during this time. Many of them are elderly and the majority are undocumented. In addition to being inelegible for government assistance, they are targeted by police, ICE, and, more recently, by vandals and thieves, in addition to being extorted by local gangs and even security guards in the areas where they sell.
"At the end of the day I'm not here to please everyone," says Vee. "I'm just here to give back to my local street vendors, and as long as I'm making them happy, as long as I can put a smile on their face, that's all that matters."
If you can't get out there to support street vendors yourself, consider donating what you can to Viridiana, so she can keep showing love to our hard hustling people on the street.