Ciro Ortiz, 11, spends his Sundays transferring emotional advice to New Yorkers on the go.
Setting up shop at the Bedford Avenue (L) train stop in Brooklyn, the Bushwick sixth-grader charges subway riders $2 for five-minute counseling sessions at his card table. “It’s a good way to give back and make money,” he told the New York Post.
With dreams of becoming a video-game developer, the honors student doesn’t plan to pursue a long-term career in therapy. However, run-ins with bullies at schools prompted his decision to fortify the spirits of others through the launch of his endeavor.
“Ciro is really sensitive and he’s had a hard time,” said his mother Jasmine Aequitas. “The first day he was out there [on the subway platform, giving counseling], he was very nervous and unsure of himself… A few Sundays later he’s come back saying, ‘I’ve met so many wonderful people. I’m gonna end up having so many friends.’?”
For instance, a man at odds with his wife’s decision to go vegan recently stopped by the pre-teen’s table for direction. “I told him that she didn’t get mad at him for eating meat,” Ciro said. “She likes to eat what she wants and he likes to eat whatever he wants so they’re just gonna have to deal with it.”
According to The Post, clients are saying Ciro’s advice is spot on. “He’s always been much more mature than whatever grade he was in,” his father, Adam Ortiz, added.
As for how he’s spending his money (he rakes in $50 on a good day), Ciro is adding more good deeds to his name. “He buys food or snacks at school for kids who can’t afford them,” Ortiz continued. “He’s not selfish with his money.”
Good job, Ciro!