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Javier Rodriguez of Grupo Motociclista Solidario competes on Who Wants to be a Millionaire to raise money for kids in Buenos Aires
Javier Rodriguez of Grupo Motociclista Solidario competes on Who Wants to be a Millionaire to raise money for kids in Buenos Aires | Photo courtesy of screenshot capture from Telefe on Twitter

Biker in Argentina wins Who Wants to be a Millionaire, helps vulnerable children

As soon as the cameras turned on, I felt as if I was living in a strange dream. It seemed unthinkable to get the money we needed for our group's goals on a game on television. Yet, there we were with millions of people watching.

Interview Subject
Javier Rodríguez, 50, (center) is part of the Grupo Motociclista Solidario. He is pictured with two other group members. The founder Julio Arregui started the group before he passed away. Javier and the other members come from diverse professional backgrounds but share a common way of life as a biker family.

Javier and the group collected food and toys for children at Christmas and on Children’s Day. They also distributed food to soup kitchens in Buenos Aires.
Today they host festivals. Children enjoy games and activities as they await the toy collection deliveries. At 5:00 p.m., rock bands play.

Artists perform like Piñón Fijo, the most famous clown in the country, as well as puppets, magicians, actors, and singers. All proceeds support food banks and kitchens. During the concerts, emerging rock bands gain an audience. Even internationally recognized bands such as La Renga, Luciano Napolitano, and Memphis have played, not charging a penny for their performance.
Background Information
The group was formed in 2014. Community kitchens sponsored by members include Olivos, Garín, and El Talar. For the last five years, they have traveled to different areas of the province of Buenos Aires and throughout the country. As part of a solidarity trip, they helped refurbish a school in Chaco.

They hold motofestivals and motoencuentros nearly every weekend. Bikers come out with their families. Sometimes municipalities provide sound elements or other needs.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — One day, while distributing bread in my community, I received a request from Julio, a fellow biker. Julio formed a group of motorcyclists to collaborate on charity work. He wanted to help more children by providing food, toys, and other basic items. He also wanted to start an outreach to community kitchens. I joined the project the very next day.

For a long time, I enjoyed activities like rock music and riding my motorcycle. Then, one day, my individualism gave way to a noble cause. I never imagined our work would lead me to such heart-warming stories.

Bikers win big on Who Wants to be a Millionaire

In 2019, I participated in the television program Who Wants to be a Millionaire and won a significant sum of money. A game of questions and answers, the cash prize begins to increase.

As soon as the cameras turned on, I felt as if I was living in a strange dream. It seemed unthinkable to get the money we needed for our group’s goals on a game on television. Yet, there we were with millions of people watching. I kept thinking about what we could achieve if we won the award.

Members of the Grupo Motociclista Solidario watch from the audience during Who Wants to be a Millionaire | Photo courtesy of screenshot capture from Telefe video on Twitter.

The hours passed and my nerves increased with the rhythm of the clock. I began to breathe slowly to calm myself down, hoping everything would go well for us. The light in the studio did not help. they shined brightly on me. With each question we answered, we moved closer to delivering toys and food to kids and community kitchens. If focused on that goal.

Read stories about more amazing visionaries doing great work around the globe from Orato World Media.

Suddenly, we became the last group standing, and our success turned into a great joy for everyone. Unable to contain my emotion, I felt a surge of shared achievement. We burst into laughter, smiles, and pure excitement. We could now help more children!

A boy who needs a mattress elicits emotional response

I felt a pit in my stomach and a knot in my throat when a little boy told me he had no mattress to sleep on. Anguish invaded my body. I suddenly felt all our efforts may not be enough to help these children with everything. I could see the need in this child’s eyes.

Many like him suffer every single day. Numerous thoughts spiraled through my mind and my hands began to shake. I hugged him and promised to figure out a way to get what he asked for. For a very long time, I thought about that boy.

I never lacked for anything growing up; but I did not need to, to understand him. I came to understand the realities these children face, and my purpose in life, by going to community kitchens and distributing toys and food. We live in a world where each of us remains immersed in our own affairs. We may find it difficult to look around us and empathize; to see the material and emotional suffering of others.

Kids at festivals put on by Grupo Motociclista Solidario receive toys the group collected | Photo courtesy of the Grupo’s Facebook Page

Some children appreciate every little gesture or gift. Their eyes shine and their smiles show their thankful heart. They realize, with help, they can get through any situation. Some of the kids had no idea what a television show was. When we went on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, they got to witness a first-class production.

Biker keeps up his love of riding amidst charity work

When I ride my motorcycle, I see the horizon, the route in front of me, and the landscapes. Above all, I get to share the moment with friends. When we travel as a group, we designate a road captain who manages our speed and searches out the best path.

Feeling the textures of the motorcycle, the leather, the handlebars, and the iron offers a unique sensation. Putting on leather or waterproof gear protects us from climatic conditions like wind and rain and protects us in the case of an accident. Though problems can still arise, I feel safe from harm.

Bands play for huge crowds at the Grupo’s regular biker festivals and all proceeds help local soup kitchens and food distribution programs | Photo courtesy of the Grupo’s Facebook page

Heading out on the road with my helmet on, I experience of sense of intimacy with my own spirit. I am inside myself, talking and thinking. A thousand things come to mind while riding. Artists, for example, may meditate on the works they will create. Sometimes I talk myself through emotional conflicts I am experiencing.

Whether a distance of two kilometers or 800, traveling on a motorcycle proves a pleasurable experience. The road allows me to meet new friends and enjoy good food. For me, it’s all about sharing pleasures with others.

A biker never leaves you lying on the road

During my childhood, my mother ran a small bread shop from home. At less than five years old, I distributed the bread amongst our neighbors. I learned in time that solidarity must be exercised horizontally in collaboration with community. We cannot just give what we have leftover.

The best form of teaching comes from action, so I act. We can achieve much more when we combine our concerns, moving beyond personal satisfaction by involving others.

Members of Grupo Motociclista Solidario | Photo courtesy of the Grupo’s Facebook page

I never had a hard life and not think it necessary to help those around us. Too often when people feel outraged about what is happening in the world, they remain idle. Taking action breaks the cycle of indifference. We even go beyond our own group and join forces with other small group of motorcyclists to multiply our efforts.

Our work also seeks to break prejudices. We live in a society where people label one another based on appearance. When we wear leather clothes, grow out our beards, and a ride motorcycles, people label our character as rigid. They may look at us with fear or suspicion. I watch their disapproving glances.

Through our work and the sum of our wills, we change minds. People come to learn motorcycling can be a constructive, supportive community. We include families, women, and children, as well doctors, engineers, and all kinds of professionals. A great brotherhood exists amidst the love of motorcycles and rock and roll.

While we all have our own personal lives, we each accept our role in the Grupo Motociclistas Solidarios. That proves satisfaction enough. A biker never leaves you lying on the road or anywhere. That spirit governs our relationships as a group.

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I am Rita Piris, an Argentine journalist and audiovisual communicator. I'm interested in technology and data visualization and convinced that access to information technologies is a means of democratizing information and culture.