Before a picture of an 89-year-old Mexican paletero struggling to push his cart down the streets of Chicago got people to reaching for their wallets, there was Gaspar Marcos. The Los Angeles Times featured the Guatemalan immigrant in a short doc, which followed the 18-year from his high school to full-time after-school job. In those 19 hours, he showed the world how hard he worked to make his American Dream come true. The story resonated with so many people, who began to donate money to help ease this burden.
But even two months after Gaspar’s story went viral, Arturo Castro continues to feel struck that this young Central American refugee is fighting so hard to make it. Like most people, the Broad City actor first heard of Gaspar after the Los Angeles Times feature. And today, Arturo came face-to-face with his fellow Chapin.
“[I] was so inspired by his tenacity that I went to hang w him when I was in LA, and now we’re getting him private tutoring for English,” Arturo wrote on Instagram. “At a time of hateful rhetoric, it’s easy to turn a blind eye when all you see is statistics. Here is the face of those statistics. Men and women with a dream, and an unbreakable spirit taking the bus to make an early class. And they won’t change just because a loud idiot on a soapbox appeals as genuine to people.”
Throughout the LA Times video, Gaspar spoke mostly in Spanish. It’s something Castro can relate to. Despite growing up imitating American accents as a kid, he enrolled in classes to get rid of his accent. “When I first got to New York, I had a thick accent, similar to Jaime’s,” he told the Daily Beast about his Broad City character. “And the ironic part is that now most of the roles I do require an accent, so people would have saved me a lot of time and money – if I’d known. It wasn’t so much that it was a thick accent, it’s just that I spoke so fast with an accent, that no one could understand me, so it was a very pleasant experience trying to explain my name to a bunch of Americans those first couple years.”