Every time someone calls him by his name, a slow and kind smile appears across his face. “Margarito, Margarito! Let’s take a picture.” The tallest man in Peru slowly turns to whoever is calling him and poses without any hesitation.
Dozens of Bagua citizens flooded the streets when they found out that the Pan American torch was passing through the city as its last destination in the Amazon and, most of all, because Margarito Machaguay, the giant man who became famous in the 90s, was one of the torchbearers.
Margarito, Margarito! They keep calling him and he simply smiles. He moves with difficulty. For some years now, his arthrosis has caused him to need an electric wheelchair to get around. At 2.26 meters tall, Margarito used to make guest appearances on comedy shows, starred in commercials and even had a beer bottle size named after him. Now, he works in the Municipality of Bagua, in the office for people with impairments. “I like helping people, and that’s what I do now,” said Margarito Machaguay, accompanied by one of his children, who gently hugs him and helps him get around.
Margarito Machaguay was selected by his neighbors as a torchbearer of the Flame that illuminates us all. He had a seven written on his shirt, maybe for good luck or maybe it was just a coincidence. Whatever the reason, Margarito did not stop smiling for everyone. Carrying the torch is an unprecedented honor and he is aware of it: “It’s an honor. I like that people recognize me. This is a historic event and I will never forget about it.”
After travelling 100 meters in his electric wheelchair, Margarito completed this honorable task. Surrounded by his loved ones, Margarito Machacaguay reaffirmed his commitment to society. And, although time leaves its mark, his spirit is as young and wonderful as ever.