Widower spends hours daily tending to wife's gravesite
SAN ANTONIO - Polo Cruz knows he'll someday be reunited with his best friend and wife of 47 years.
“She meant everything to me,” he said in Spanish. “My life.”
Maria Cruz died two years ago and was buried at San Fernando Cemetery #3 on the Southwest Side. Cruz transformed her final resting spot into a beautiful shrine for the only woman he's ever loved. He spends hours each day making sure she's not alone and that her gravesite is meticulously cared for.
“I’m here every day,” he said staring at a picture on her tombstone. “Every day."
But his never-ending love extends beyond Maria’s burial plot.
"I just want to say thank you to him," Beatrice Menchaca said.
She lost her 31-year-old son in February to Meningitis, a rare infection that attacked his body.
"We weren't even able to say goodbye to our son,” she explained to Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf. “He just slipped away from us real quick."
Salomon Menchaca, who’s known by loved ones as Boxer, will be remembered for his humor and laughter. The father of two is buried near Maria at San Fernando Cemetery #3.
"We came one day and he just ... we saw grass in my son's gravesite,” Menchaca explained. “He made a cross for my son so we could just put a picture until he gets his tombstone."
There are dozens of other unmistakable gravesites with similar touches, which include thick green grass and homemade crosses. Cruz is behind them all.
“Some people don't have anyone to leave anything and I want to make sure they're taken care of," the 70-year-old former auto mechanic said.
The Menchaca family turned to CASH FOR KINDNESS to thank him for what he’s done. They said they're more at peace with their loss because of him.
“I know you don't know what's going on but I called Ryan Wolf because I wanted to tell you thank you for everything that you do at everybody's gravesite,” Menchaca told Cruz at the cemetery. “It really means a lot to us. It brought some comfort to me and my family knowing that you're taking care of my son's gravesite. And I just want people in San Antonio to know that there are kind people like you out here.”
“Thank you very much,” Cruz said.
The two hugged for a few seconds as Cruz began to tear up.
“We reward people for their selfless acts of kindness," Wolf told him next. He handed him a stack of $100 bills on behalf of Fox San Antonio.
“A thousand dollars,” Cruz counted.
Onlookers applauded him for his award.
“How do you feel?" Wolf asked.
“My wife was the most beautiful thing in my life,” he responded. “She would be happy for everything I've done to be kind waiting to see her again."
The Menchaca's recently held a balloon release, walk and vigil in memory of Boxer. Cruz attended all of the events to show his support for the family he met next to his wife’s gravesite.
Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS prize.