Across social media, the photos keep popping up.
At the Bedford Avenue subway station in New York City, people can’t get enough of a small 11-year-old boy with dark hair and serious eyes sitting in a folding chair behind a table with a simple cardboard sign taped to it that reads, “Emotional Advice $2.00.”
But as much as it may look like a joking reference to the comic strip “Peanuts,” it’s real. Ciro Ortiz has been coming to the subway station every Sunday for several months now, and the advice he gives is direct, simple and to the point, according to the New York Post.
And Ortiz’s talent is evident by the number of clients he draws in. According to his parents, he averages about $50 per Sunday. Given that his sessions last five minutes each, Ortiz spends more than two hours talking to people about their problems each week.
“Somebody came up to us and said that what he told her is what she’d been feeling in her gut that whole time,” Ortiz’s father, Adam Ortiz, said.
With all that extra money, Ortiz buys food for children at his school who can’t afford them, his parents told news outlets.
The origin of Ortiz’s makeshift therapy sessions is his own experiences — he was bullied in school, according to Gothamist.
“Ciro is really sensitive and he’s had a hard time,” his mother, Jasmine Aequitas, told The Post. “The first day he was out there, 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.’”
“Some kids are only nice to you if you are into what they're into," Ortiz told Upworthy. "I'm not going to force myself to be someone I'm not."
Ortiz’s parents have supported their son’s burgeoning business, helping him to even leave the subway station and occasionally go on the streets of New York with his chair and table, according to Metro UK. They have also set up an Instagram account, @EmotionalAdviceKid.
Ortiz said that the most common problems people come to him with are fear of change and anxiety about being loved.
“We have to accept (change),” he told the Post. “It’s going to happen — it’s always going to happen. Life is always changing,”
“When you were brought into this world, you were born into someone loving you. Look at it like that,” he told Upworthy.