That the loading trucks, or little devils, have transformed their shape over time, all to find the easiest way to transport up to one ton and without the risk of the merchandise falling has been possible thanks to Ubaldo López Reyes, better known as The kid, a plump, graying blacksmith with good heart who works in the Central de Abasto of Mexico City, where there are more than 10 thousand devils.
“Since I had 10 years I started making little devils, ”says Ubaldo or Don Waldo, as his comrades at the headquarters also know him. “I put a table for them to contain the merchandise; I also improved the wheels and axle. I was polishing all those little details and now the devils are straight, just to work at ease ”.
Ubaldo has been working since he was four years old. “The need was what made me work since I was little, to carry onions, cilantro and all that to help my mom and my brothers, because I didn’t have a dad”. And it was precisely because he started working at that age that he earned the nickname of The kid. “I was walking with a wheelbarrow my size, first in The mercy and then in the central, when they moved the wineries here to Iztapalapa ”, says this Hidalgo man who came to live at Historical Center, a neighborhood that he takes to the core.
“And what were the little devils like before?”
“They were totally square and all the things we carried ended up on the ground.” That is why I left work at the age of nine. Then I went from a chalet to a body shop. There I learned from irons: how to forge them, how to weld them and even how to bend them without big tools.
With that basic knowledge of the smithy, says Ubaldo, did not return from diablero to The mercybut rather as the man who would reinvent the devils. “The first modifications I made to it was to lengthen the handles that we know as the horns and I replaced the tires.”
Ubaldo first worked with a partner who played crooked after a few months. “I became independent and right now I am dedicated to rent them”, He says and tells that he has had some 400 little devils. “An operator can push between 200 and even just over one ton, in addition to the twenty or thirty kilos that the pure devil weighs ”.
“And how is the pay?”
—It can be variable, depending on the quantity of products, weight, or travel time. It is charged between 30 and 100 pesos per trip.
Ubaldo lives in the Historical Center and he is convinced that he will not leave the neighborhood because he has been there all his life and because, he says, he worries about the people who emigrate from the villages. “They come to the headquarters here Diableros from Oaxaca, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí and from many other states. These are people who really need it. I lend the devil only to those who really need it, because if he comes for addictions, Well, no”.
Despite the fact that Ubaldo has lived in environments where drugs, crime or partying are at hand, his only vice is cigarettes. “I have two children who have already graduated, that was my addiction: to give them studies.”
“And would you consider yourself a godfather to his devils?”
—You can say yes, because I give them that gift of conviction, because I talk to them about work so that they stop drugs, so they stop alcohol and thus see to their family.
“The trade is tough, isn’t it?”
—Yes, because you have to deal with troubled people. That is why the best thing will always be to act on the path of good, on the right and despite any difficulties.