You think I’m joking, but I’m not – the Mexican Masked Hero is making the mean and traffic-choked streets of Mexico City safe once again for pedestrians.
The mighty Peatonito (Little Pedestrian) pushes cars back that are blocking the path of pedestrians, creates crosswalks with spray paint and will climb on vehicles parked on sidewalks if necessary.
“Pedestrians are happy because they finally have a defender,” Peatonito said, his face covered by a wrestling mask adorned with a pedestrian symbol and wearing a striped cape (sewn by his grandma) adorned with the black and white stripes of a pedestrian crossing.
You still think I’m joking though. You think this is the sequel to that Jack Black movie; “Nacho Libre” – right?
Well, it isn’t.
It oughtta be, but it isn’t.
Peatonito aims to reduce traffic deaths in a city where pedestrians account for more than half of around 1,000 annual road fatalities, according to health ministry statistics.
On a recent weekday morning, Peatonito policed a side road of the capital’s iconic and congested Reforma boulevard.
“We need you,” said a driver who sheepishly reversed after Peatonito pushed his car back with both hands on the hood, both laughing as they waved goodbye.
Peatonito’s real identity is Jorge Canez, who works in non-governmental urban policy group. But twice a week, he puts on a black mask with a green pedestrian symbol.
He even has a business card. People contact him on Facebook and Twitter, asking for help to improve their streets. He spray paints circles around holes on the sidewalk and sends pictures to city officials.
In a country where wrestlers are national heroes, he got the idea two years ago after watching a lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) event. Why does he do it?
Peatonito said; “We live in a car dictatorship. Nobody had fought for pedestrian rights until now…”
Actually, pal – you live in an upholstered men’s room – but I’m glad you found your calling…