SAN JOSE -- Two recent attacks on street food vendors in San Jose, both captured on cellphone video, have been widely shared and condemned on social media.
On Sunday, customers from near and far stepped up to show the two victims just how much they are loved and supported.
"Today was the day that we brought the vendors that these men attacked together for a community buyout to let them know that they are not alone," said street vendor activist Alex Enamorado in an Instagram post.
Video showed Kenny Ho, the owner of Intex Auto Parts on Old Bayshore Highway, attacking Carlos Sanchez with a baseball bat. He even threatened him with a can of lighter fluid.
Ho was arrested on charges of assault and attempted carjacking.
Two days prior, Saul Reconco said he was punched and kicked by a customer after the customer demanded a free hot dog outside SAP Center. That attacker has yet to be identified.
Enamorado, who drove up from Los Angeles, helped organized this community buyout at the same location Sanchez was recently attacked earlier this month.
"Street vendors do not have time off. They don't have any paid leave or days off so the importance of a community buyout -- it's for them to take some time off, if they want to, because they just went through something traumatic," Enamorado said.
Reconco and Sanchez were both at the buyout where hundreds showed up.
"Carlos, he sold out in the first six minutes. People were already lined up since 12 so, by 1:06 p.m. he had completely sold out so they had to come and bring him different batches," Enamorado added. "He was almost in tears, he just kept saying thank you over and over, that he's very grateful."
Leila Kirsch, owner of VENNU Yoga Studio in Millbrae helped sponsor the buyout after seeing the news. She said she was inspired after seeing Enamorado's work on Instagram.
"We actually ended up donating more, because it just kept on going. So it was kind of hard to say 'OK, let's stop it here,'" said Kirsch.
On Sunday, Intex Auto Parts posted on its Facebook page:
"Hi, I continue to be embarrassed and regretful about my actions. I would like to say how sorry I am personally, and to make up for my actions. Yesterday my family and I cleaned up the area for the event, we're opening up our parking lot, and we put up big signs saying that everyone is welcome. This doesn't change what I did, but is a truer picture of who I am rather than the person in the video. I hope everyone has a great time at the buyout."
Beyond the legal protections afforded to street vendors in California, Enamorado and Kirsch hope these incidents and the community's help humanize street food vendors.
"They're not out here robbing and stealing. They're trying to make a living in a legit manner as much as possible and they're just humble, hardworking people," Enamorado said.
"No matter what city you're from, no matter what business you come from, at the end of the day, we all could just help each other," Kirsch said.
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