This Hollywood actor landed the starring role as The People Walker. Chuck McCarthy walks humans around L.A. for $7 a mile, offering conversation, companionship, motivation and — most importantly — a kindly ear. The unemployed actor’s idea, which started out as a joke, has grown to the point where McCarthy has had to hire five more people walkers to cover downtown L.A., Hollywood, Eagle Rock, Las Feliz and Fairfax. McCarthy explains why we crave human interaction in an era of social media.
Why have you decided to become a people walker?
I am a Hollywood actor, and I needed to make some extra money. I thought about becoming a dog walker, but dog walkers have to pick up dog poop. I started saying maybe I would walk people, so I would not have to do that. At first, I thought it was a funny idea, but the more I thought about it, the less funny it became. Health and fitness is a huge industry here in Los Angeles. People do yoga, people hire personal trainers and people have sports club memberships. Most people go to sports clubs just to walk on a treadmill, so why wouldn't they walk with me? So I started The People Walker and tried to get clients.
You have already expanded your business to five people walkers. Is there such a big demand?
Many people were interested in becoming people walkers, and many people in areas outside of my neighborhood were interested in being walked. Driving for any great distance to walk someone seems to go against the point. Also, since the rate is so reasonable, spending the time to drive to the other side of town makes no business sense.
What are you actually doing?
I meet with people, and I walk with them. I'm there to motivate them to walk, keep them company while they walk, and give them the safety of having another person with them. I talk with clients while we walk, but as a people walker, I try to listen more.
What's the hardest part of your "second job?"
I enjoy meeting new people. I like walking, talking, listening to their stories, thoughts, and problems. So the hardest part of being a people walker for me is staying hydrated and putting on enough sunblock.
You charge $7 per mile. Isn't that a little expensive?
No, it is a very fair price. The average walk is two to three miles, and the average person can walk about three miles in an hour, so it's approximately $21 per hour. Many personal trainers in Los Angeles charge $60-$80 per hour.
Has working as a people walker helped your acting career?
It has helped my career. Many of the videos made about me have included parts of my Hollywood acting reel, and they have been seen around the world. You and your readers know my name, Chuck McCarthy, and having a name people recognize is very important.
Some people have suggested I turn my life into a movie, but I am not sure if that will happen, so I am focusing on the business. Many people around the world have shown interest in walking people and being walked, so I am currently working to build The People Walker mobile app, so that more people around the world can be people walkers, and more people can be walked.