The World Students Society honours and will always remember the hundreds who died the world over, while tackling the traffic hazards on their bikes and motorbikes. 

To deliver you warm food the delivery workers are at a constant risk of accidents.  The fatality rate for food delivery workers exceeds that on construction jobs.

After the brass band packed up its instruments, Sergio Solano and two other food delivery workers walked a white bicycle to an overpass within view of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

A fellow worker, or companero, as they call each other meaning ''partner,'' had died less than two weeks earlier that September in yet another bicycle wreck on the streets of Manhattan.

Delivering food has proved to be a deadly occupation for many of them. Riding bikes at all hours, they get hit by cars, are at constant risk of having accidents and fall prey to crime.

The spray-painted bicycle paid homage to Felix Patrico Teofilo, a Mexican immigrant who, like them, made his living pedalling to deliver food. They chained it to the metal railing near the intersection of 47th Street and First Avenue, where he had met his end.

With the solemn march through the drizzle, Mr. Solamo, 39 was adjourning an evening of mourning, fulfilling what he has come to see as a mission : 

'' Illuminating in death lives that were relegated to the shadows.''

'' We never thought we would be organizing vigils,'' Mr. Solano said. '' That was never our objective.''

Just over three years ago, Mr. Solano and relatives who are also delivery workers started '' EI Diario de Los Deliverboys en La Gran Manzana,'' which translates to '' The Journal of the Delivery boys in the Big Apple,'' a Facebook page with aims both practical and informative.

The page would act as an online support network and a space to spread alerts on bicycle thefts, traffic accidents and discriminatory encounters reported by Spanish-speaking immigrants who brave the urban frenzy to satisfy New Yorkers' takeout cravings.

Along the way, it would chronicle the job's twists and turns.

Soon after the page was up and running it became clear to Mr. Solano that the project would tell a bigger story : Companeros die regularly on the job.

More than 40 have died since the page went live in late 2020, by Mr. Somano's latest count.

In Mr. Patricio's case, he hit his head on a curb without a helmet in a solo crash.

Food delivery workers were for a brief period celebrated in New York as the Covid-19 pandemic drove life indoors and their services became critical.

Mr. Valencia had come to the city from Guerrero as a teenager, said his mother, Guadalupe Nepomucene. His dream was to save up enough money to carve out a comfortable living in his hometown, she said.

'' He wanted to build his house, return to Mexico and never return to New York,'' Ms. Nepomuceno said in Spanish.

But Mr.Valencia's homecoming would be in a coffin.

Ms. Nepomuceno, who lives in New York City, could not attend her son's burial, casting her final goodbye from a small digital screen more than 2,000 miles away.

The efforts and Heroics of the Deliverboys serve as a recognition for people who are often overlooked, Solano said.

'' In the eyes of  society, they don't exist,'' he said. ''They start to exist when you give them visibility.''

As city life regains its prepandemic rhythm, Mr.Solano added, food delivery workers have faded into the background.

Planting a ''ghost bicycle'' as memorial for cyclists are known, at the spot of a companero's death is a way to tell of deliveryboys contributions and the ultimate price some pay.

With Mr. Patricio's memorial secured, Mr. Solano and two companeros donned helmets, mounted bicycles and crept towards the intersection. They looked both ways for passing cars.

It was 7.40 on a Monday evening. Time to get to work.

The World Students Society thanks Orlando Mayorquin.


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