TIJUANA, Mexico – Hugo Garcia lives in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, a man who for 10 years has been roaming the streets to make a living in a unique and original way: disguised as the cartoon character Shrek, with which he also intends to help society.
Painted in green and wearing the typical clothing that distinguishes the ogre in the DreamWorks animation, Hugo goes out into the streets going around every corner to take pictures with those who approach him. He also attends social events.
He calls himself the Shrek of Tijuana and joy is shared not only with his followers, but with his own family, because the idea of impersonating this character arose from the need to raise funds for medical treatments and chemotherapy for his wife.
“It has been 10 years since we ran into mankind’s No. 1 enemy, my wife Martha Beatriz Vazquez’s cancer. She has already had 17 chemotherapies and we have been hand in hand with God, because without God we cannot do things,” Hugo told EFE.
He said people provide him with material aid, from money to pantries, which, when accumulated, he decides to share with those most in need such as shelters, orphanages and communities abandoned by authorities.
“We are in the fight, we are in life, life brings you everything and you have to grasp it as it comes, with hope and a good feeling, right now we are here and tomorrow we do not know, but always good deeds and fight for a human being,” he said.
The Tijuana Shrek is recognized by local, national and international media, and distinguished brands have reached out to him, such as the World Boxing Council and Tijuana I Love 664.
The inspiration for Hugo Garcia, he said, is his wife and his health, as well as his daughter, who also supports him at times by dressing up as Fiona, Shrek’s faithful partner according to the DreamWorks story.
Garcia not only seeks to earn a living through the character, but also bring a human sense to the community, because during the coronavirus crisis he has donated face masks, diapers, pantries, clothes and even kitchens to those who require it.
“A few minutes ago, I gave more than 60 diapers to children who also lack little things, and thanks to the people who support me, who come from the United States and take things to my house for me to donate,” he said.
He recalled that he also provided help to those who have lost their homes due to natural phenomena such as fires, rains, landslides, among others.
“Now that the houses in (the neighborhood) El Rubi were burned, we give away toys, we give food, we give televisions, in the El Niño neighborhood, we give joy in the La Miseria neighborhood, because there is nothing, there is no light, no water, nothing,” he said.
Hugo Garcia is one of the thousands of Tijuana residents who look to make a living from home every day, but he does it in a different way. On several occasions, he has been seen alongside top-level politicians, accompanying them at social events, as well as with some artists and sports figures visiting Tijuana.
It is common to see the Tijuana Shrek walking through the Urban Zone of the Tijuana River, Revolution Avenue, the international sentry boxes, the Municipal Palace or the Center, always available for a photograph and giving sweets to the children who greet him.