A Deliveroo order was lost on the road last Sunday. The global food delivery platform had to warn the customer that an incident made delivery impossible. The motorist who was transporting the package had died after colliding with a garbage truck at the confluence of the streets of Tomás Borrás and Embajadores, in Madrid. His name was Néstor Alexander Pérez, 48, a burly Venezuelan who practiced law in his country. There he hung up the toga after receiving several threats, but the change of profession and country did not save him from premature death.
Despite the curfew that prevails in the capital, home delivery is provided until midnight. An hour before, Nestor received the message on his phone with the instructions for the last shipment of the day, the one that cost him his life. The Municipal Police are still investigating the causes of the fatal accident. Two nurses from the Hospital Clínico San Carlos and another retiree from Samur heard the collision from their homes and came down to help the victim, who went into cardiorespiratory arrest after severe trauma to the head and chest. In the midst of resuscitation, Nestor’s cell phone began to ring. The screen indicated that the call was made from Caracas. One of the toilets picked up the hook, raising his voice above the sirens:
“Nestor, honey, what is it?”
—Néstor is unconscious because he has had an accident. Do you have relatives or close people in Madrid?
It was then when the cousin on the other side of the pond notified Marcos Pérez, 45 years old and brother of the deceased, of what happened, who appeared at the scene. At the height of number 168 Ambassadors street ambulances and patrol cars crowded, although the fight for the life of the delivery man was lost beforehand and he died on the spot. Two psychologists, dressed in white coats, approached Marcos: “They didn’t have to open their mouths, by their gesture I sensed what had happened. My brother died on the same asphalt that he traveled every day ”. As a result of the health crisis, Nestor left Glovo – he was still using his square, yellow satchel – and was working as a substitute delivery man for Deliveroo.
He operated with the license of another self-employed person who delegated his professional activity to him, perhaps to take a break or to alternate with another job. Sometimes this kind of agreement includes the payment of a commission, but it is a legal figure that does not exempt from the collection of insurance by accident. According to the British firm, this includes up to 3,000 euros to cover burial expenses and an indemnity of 50,000 euros. The news that the company will finance the funeral services came after the deceased’s compatriots organized a collection. David Placer, a Venezuelan journalist based in Madrid, made a call for solidarity that his legion of followers on Instagram was in charge of amplifying.
In a few hours, the event reached a dozen Caracas digital portals, where Pérez is described as a “son of the national diaspora”. The delivery man had his Spanish papers in order. As an asylum seeker, he had a Foreigner Identity Number (NIE) that allowed him to sign up on the different platforms for home delivery. Before, even as an irregular immigrant, “he painted floors, loaded trucks and moved,” according to his brother. He arrived in Madrid with his partner, from whom he separated last year, a break that led him to share a flat with four other colleagues near the Plaza Mayor. Nearby are some of the busiest delivery stops, where cyclists and motorists wait to receive the order to be delivered.
However, it seems that Nestor had other aspirations. He was preparing for the test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of our country, one of the requirements established in the laws for the granting of Spanish nationality. And she never gave up hope of getting back into the law: she wanted to save money to join a prestigious Latin buffet, as Mariah Cibeira, 28, and one of her roommates recounted. She remembers him as “a great reader, who devoured political and economic literature of all kinds.” From Adam Smith, to the French enlightenment, through the tribunes of various contemporary thinkers who kept him connected to the ups and downs of his country.
Books, clothes and laptop remain in her bedroom. “It’s curious that someone leaves so soon with all those future plans,” adds the companion. For long periods of time, Pérez worked the night shift. He would come home at five in the morning, but he was reluctant to sleep in the rest of the day. Lately he was walking head down and morose through the corridors of his apartment. He had left Glovo due to lack of orders, but the competition was not bringing him enough income to survive. He planned, then, to move in March “to a cheaper apartment, perhaps on the outskirts,” says Cibeira. Although this meant leaving behind the Madrid epicenter of the cast.
The fatal accident was not the only work accident suffered by Pérez. 15 days ago he sprained his wrist, according to his brother. It happened in front of a red traffic light, when the door of a vehicle was opened without prior notice just as the delivery man passed. By resting his hands on the car, it avoided a spectacular fall. The doctor prescribed rest, but the next day he had to get back on the road. “This works like this; If you don’t work, you don’t get paid, ”Marcos whispers. “That’s why my brother spent the day from one place to another. His life was work, he had little time for anything else. I suppose that all of us who come from abroad know what survival is ”.
The need to earn a living is present even in goodbyes. Last Wednesday Pérez parked the motorcycle at the door of the restaurant where Marcos works and entered to greet him. “What’s new, little brother?” He asked. They had not seen each other for several weeks, although they exchanged messages often. They caught up, laughed and dreamed together, until the announcement of a new order interrupted the conversation. “I leave you bro, I got a little work out of it, ”Nestor said goodbye as he grabbed the helmet and backpack. “You can tell me anything, eh,” replied the minor. That was the last time he saw his brother alive.