An update to the story 23ABC brought you earlier this week about the local flower vendor who was assaulted and robbed Sunday night. Today the 21-year-old victim spoke exclusively to 23ABC's Bayan Wang on how the community has rallied behind him.
Almost every day you will find 21-year-old Ivan Santos-Flores along Knudsen and Olive drives in Northwest Bakersfield. With flowers in-hand and other products displayed on the sidewalk, selling those Is how he gets by. But on Sunday night a long day of working ended with an empty wallet and a bloody face.
Flores said a homeless man grabbed him by the shirt, placed a knife near his stomach, and began screaming in his face. Flores, who only speaks Spanish, didn't understand a word. The man searched through all of his pockets, took all the money Flores had made for the day, and stole a glass product before leaving.
Flores said he went after the suspect who then threw the glass product at him, which shattered on his face.
Flores filed a report with the Kern County Sheriff's Office before going back home, saying he felt alone in a state he has no family in. But that soon changed after 23ABC's original story about the incident.
Flores said several residents saw him on the news and have been stopping by to make sure the person they see on their daily commute is okay. Many buying his flowers or just giving him cash.
"That's a bad thing man, people are out here trying to make a living because of the pandemic," said Anthony Ware on Monday. Ware is a resident who lives near the scene. "He's still taking a chance and it gets bad that he got robbed doing his job."
Alisha Tellez said she saw Flores just minutes before he was robbed.
"I was going to lunch and I had just seen him. He was happy on the phone smiling and it's just been minutes. And if I would have seen it, who knows what I would have done to help him. But I hope somebody helps in catching that guy."
Christian Ramirez gave Flores $100 to show his support.
"I wanted to help him out," said Ramirez. "I feel like that is one thing that Bakersfield is really good at. We support our community and I feel like when things like this happen we do rally around people when they need it."
For this 21-year-old hard work isn't a choice. As a street vendor, life hasn't always been easy. But what he said he never expected is that a horrible situation lifted his sense of community. Bakersfield he said has never felt more like home.
The suspect is described as a man in his mid-20s with blonde hair, wearing a gray beanie, white sweater, and black mask. Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call KCSO at 661-861-3110.