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From selling mops to selling cars: The story of Sebastian Ibañez

12News first told you about Sebastian Ibañez two weeks ago after his car wreck. That story sparked a chain of positive events for the now-former street vendor.

MESA, Ariz. — A lot can happen in two weeks. For Sebastian Ibañez it was life-changing.

On Feb. 15 he was involved in a car crash that led to a chain of events landing him his dream job.

“It was the best thing that could have happened,” he said. “It went from the dark tunnel into the sun, and everything looks beautiful.”

Sebastian is legally blind and partially deaf. He dreamed of selling cars, but no one would hire him. So, in 2015 he began to sell brooms, mops, and other goods imported from Mexico to provide for his family. 

After recent social media fame, his dream became reality, and he is now the newest member of Brown Brother’s Automotive in Mesa.

“It’s amazing, I’m speechless,” Sebastian said on his first day on the job on Monday.

The crash that changed his life

Sebastian was born blind, so he doesn’t have a driver’s license, but was the owner of a van.

Family members drove it to get him and his products to the different locations where he sold them across Mesa. But on February 15 a family member crashed the vehicle after the brakes failed, Sebastian said.

That accident was the latest hurdle Sebastian and his family had endured. At the start of the year, they were evicted from their home, business was slow, and they got behind on bills, and for the last three years, his wife has been battling thyroid cancer.

12News highlighted Sebastian’s story and his fight to keep pushing forward despite the adversaries, a day after the crash.

Reporter Adriana Loya shared the story on TikTok and a wave of support quickly flowed in, reaching influencer Jimmy Darts – he shares videos online while he helps strangers.

Darts traveled from California to find Sebastian and “change his life.”

That he did.

With the help of tens of thousands of people from all over the world, more than $120,000 were fundraised in a GoFundMe account to help Sebastian after Darts published a video of when they met.

One of those who watched Darts' video was Timmy Brown, a fourth-generation owner of Brown Brother’s Automotive in Mesa.

“I just saw an incredible human being who wanted to sell cars,” Brown told 12News. “I saw a beautiful guy and it didn’t make sense to me that his dream job was to sell cars, and nobody wanted to hire him. That really doesn’t make sense to me.”

On his first day on the job, Sebastian sold his first used car.

Fellow car salesmen took him under their wing and showed him the way. This job is an opportunity Sebastian never imagined would come.

“I’m just so grateful,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who supported me.”

Sebastian said he is going to stay focused on working hard to provide for his family. He also plans on going back to school and he hopes to pay off his last semester of tuition at Arizona State University with the fundraised money. His goal is to graduate in May.

“I don’t see anything on the horizon that could stop me,” he said.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: De vender trapeadores a vender autos: La historia de Sebastián Ibañez

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