"As the digital age makes people more lonely, Chuck McCarthy created a service to stroll with strangers – but the job is more people whisperer than walker."
“The more I thought about it, the less crazy it seemed,” said McCarthy, draining a bottle of water – he now takes hydration seriously – and heading out into the sunshine for another walk, this time with the Guardian trotting in step.
A homemade scrawl across his T-shirt declared him The People Walker, low-budget, mobile advertising. “I’ve been doing walks almost every single day for the past week and I’m getting repeat clients, which is what you want.”
A stroll with this soft-spoken, hirsute hulk seems to be what much of LA wants, judging by the response to his Facebook page and homemade flyers.
“Need motivation to walk?” they ask from lamp posts. “Scared to walk alone at night? Don’t like walking alone at all? Don’t want people to see you walking alone and just assume you have no friends? Don’t like listening to music or podcasts but can’t walk alone in silence, forced to face thoughts of the unknown future, or your own insignificance in the ever expanding universe?”
“I try to listen more than talk,” he said this week, striding past handsome houses in Los Feliz, a leafy neighbourhood near Hollywood.