Pablo Avendano’s “warm spirit” filled the hearts of many during a memorial protest held in remembrance of him on May 19.
Family, friends and fellow bikers dressed in black and biked from Tattooed Moms to 10th and Spring Garden streets, where he was killed delivering food for Caviar, an app that hires independent contractors to deliver food by bike.
A memorial “ghost bike” was put in place to commemorate Avendano’s life, just a day after 11-year-old Julian Angelucci was killed at 10th and Shunk streets, the second bicycle fatality of 2018.
In the drizzling rain, Avendano’s partner, Anne Marie Drolet, stood on the back of a pick-up and spoke to a large crowd of bicyclists in black that blocked traffic from the 900 block of Spring Garden.
She spoke of Avendano’s fight for a better life against a wage economy.
“I guess we liked being bike couriers, but we would complain about the people we were catering to, the bulls—t we had to put up with, and being a wage slave,” Drolet said, as the crowd cheered out in support.
“We were just trying to make it. We wanted to make a difference. He was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I’ve never been so happy with anyone. I want to keep fighting for him.”
Many of Avendano’s friends spoke in honor of him and against the gig economy that they feel took his life.
“Pablo was killed because people were making off of what he was doing,” his friend George Ciccariello-Maher said.
“They were making money off not paying benefits. They were making money off the fact that he was nothing, not even a worker, just a number. These gig economy jobs, like Caviar, are killing people. And when they’re not killing them, they’re making them suffer,” he said.
The crowd cheered and hollered out his name, “Pablo!” His brother, Bryan Avendano, shouted and banged a tambourine in his honor.
“He was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met,” Ciccariello-Maher said. “He was someone when the first time we met he felt like family and everyone else has said that. This was not particular to certain people. He wanted to spread his love and family across the world.”
Avendano’s friends and family are demanding that Caviar pay for the family’s funeral expenses. They also want Caviar to reclassify its riders as W-2 employees, offer a livable wage of $20 per hour, offer health benefits, hazard pay and maintenance/repair reimbursement.
A Caviar spokeswoman previously told the Inquirer the company is “seeing what we can do to help” Avendano’s family. A Gofundme has also been set up to to raise money for the Avendano family at gofundme.com/all-out-for-pablito.