Meet Ciro Ortiz.
The 11-year-old boy is making sure New Yorkers have someone to lean on by offering five-minute ’emotional advice’ sessions at the Bedford L train stop. For the past couple of months, the Bushwick sixth-grader has been counseling people every Sunday, from noon to 2 pm.
For $2 a pop, the sessions are available to anyone with a subway pass. Ciro says: “It’s a good way to give back and make money.” People have all kinds of questions for the pint-sized therapist: relationship troubles, job issues, and how to deal with change in general. He adds: “We have to accept [change]. It’s going to happen – it’s always going to happen. Life is always changing.”
The young boy – who calls himself the Emotional Advice Kid – was inspired to help others after being bullied at school. His mother, Jasmine Aequitas, explains: “Ciro is really sensitive and he’s had a hard time. 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.'”
On a good Sunday, he makes around $50 and uses the money to buy snacks for kids at school who can’t afford them. His mother is always with him, and regularly documents Ciro’s adventures on Instagram.
According to clients, Ciro’s advices are right on the money. His father, Adam Ortiz, says: “Somebody came up to us and said that what he told her is what she’d been feeling in her gut that whole time.”