Body of Iron, Heart of Gold


Alexandro Rios

At first glance, you might think of Ángel, who is also known as “Andy,” to be unapproachable. With his large bodybuilder frame, explosive energy, and with a serious expression that always inhabits his face, you’d believe that he wasn’t exactly the nicest guy on the planet.

The truth however, is that Andy is one of the most loveable guys you’ll ever meet.

“I couldn’t have had a better friend,” Miriel Otero, former University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus (UPRM) student and training partner, said.

Ángel Cintrón Pérez is an individual who loves lending a helping hand, no matter what is required of him and what type of reward it yields. “You have to help people, because frankly, you’ll never know when you’ll need it yourself,” he says.

From helping to fix a broken lightbulb at a student’s apartment to replacing a malfunctioning showerhead or helping students lose weight without asking for payment, many know Ángel as the go-to-guy for assistance.

Forty-eight years old, and full of life and vigor, he is employed at the UPRM, where he currently works as a mechanic and janitor. He helps as much as he can, fixing malfunctioning objects, cleaning whatever he finds dirty, assisting other workers in fulfilling their duties, and more.

“I’ve always loved helping people,” he reminisced.

Ever since being a young boy, Ángel knew the value of helping others. Born in a rural farm area with fourteen siblings and a father who was a farmer, the children had to assist the father as much as possible to collect the crops to live off the land. “We had to help each other to get the work done. If we did, we’d do the work faster and we’d get food on the table.”

And he hasn’t stopped helping people since.


Ángel sitting comfortably in his living room, enjoying the company.

“Ángel has a good heart,” his wife Carmen Jiménez, who is also a janitor in the UPRM, said about him. “He understands that people are not perfect, and that there’s always someone that needs a helping hand.”

Years ago, Ángel took it upon himself to help a vagrant couple that would wander around the streets near a former residence of his, begging for food since they were so hungry. Upon seeing the sorry state of the individuals, Ángel convinced his wife to buy food and supplies for the wandering couple so they could keep themselves afloat for the month.

Ángel bought them food each month for a total of six years.

“They were incredibly grateful,” Ángel remarked, smiling as he recalled the memories. “They were just some good people who had bad things happen to them, and well, I couldn’t just leave them without anything to eat.”

Many other individuals, hearing of Ángel’s kindness, also went to his residence looking for assistance. Ángel ended up helping them too.

Ángel is known for being charitable in other ways too. Formerly a professional bodybuilder who competed in various circuits and won a number of competitions along the way, he was forced into early retirement due to a bout with rare melanoma cancer, a cancer that produces malign tumors of melanocytes, cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation. While he has fully recovered, due to a mixture of chemotherapy and the surgical removal of a finger, the fight hasn’t defeated his love for the sport and physical fitness: he trains those in need without pay.

“I still train here and there. Hopefully I can get into the circuit again one day,” he said with a chuckle.


When there’s someone in need, Andy’s always there to help.

Knowing what it’s like to be unhealthy and then getting into shape to feel better, Ángel loves to help those that really want to change themselves and become healthy before it’s too late. If he spots someone that he knows is motivated and wants help into getting into shape, he’ll show them how to train properly, so they can shed the pounds and feel good about themselves.

“Andy sees these people like kindred spirits. They want to lose large amounts of weight and become healthier, and he remembers how he used to feel when he was younger,” Carmen commented.

“He really helped me when I needed him the most,” Miriel said, remembering her training under his tutelage. “He helped me get into shape, and I appreciate it.”

Ángel knows that he’ll never change his view on the importance of helping others. “Helping others makes the world better,” he said, a grin slowly emerging from his face. “What better feeling is there than helping another?”


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