READING People Walker (2017)Apunte Inglés
Vista previa del texto
‘We need human interaction’: meet the
LA man who walks people for a living
As the digital age makes people more lonely, Chuck McCarthy created a
service to stroll with strangers – but the job is more people whisperer
1 Chuck McCarthy is an actor who is finding glimmers of fame and, possibly, a
business franchise with another role: Los Angeles’s first people walker.
2 He walks humans for $7 a mile around the streets and park near his home, offering a new alternative to dog walking that requires no lead, just an ability to walk, talk and, above all, listen.
3 The idea initially came to the underemployed actor as a joke, an imaginary way to make extra cash, until it became real.
4 “The more I thought about it, the less crazy it seemed,” said McCarthy, drinking a bottle of water – he now takes hydration seriously – and going out into the sunshine for another walk.
5 A scrawl across his T-shirt declares 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.” 6 A stroll with this soft-spoken large man seems to be what much of LA wants judging by the response to his Facebook page and homemade flyers.
7 “Need motivation to walk?” they ask from lampposts. “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?” 8 For many, the answer to one or all of the above seems to be “yes”. McCarthy is receiving hundreds of emails from the lonely, the curious and the adventurous, all seeking a stranger’s company on a walk.
9 “I try to listen more than talk,” he said, striding past handsome houses in Los Feliz, a leafy neighbourhood near Hollywood.
10 Conversations with clients are rarely confessional but he respects confidences. “It’s mostly small talk. But I think it’s therapeutic even if they’re not baring their souls.” 11 Grumbling about traffic, for instance, feels better when delivered to an actual human ear rather than posted on social media. “Tweeting about it and getting no response just makes you feel sadder.” 12 So many requests have poured in that McCarthy has recruited five other walkers for different parts of LA, though he will not take any money from their earnings until he works out a professional business model.
13 It could grow fast. A woman in Israel has copied the idea, someone in Britain wants him to do it there and a guy in New York asked him to walk his eightyear-old son to the bus stop each day.
14 McCarthy, bemused and excited by the attention, is considering crowdfunding to hire techies to design an Uber-style app. In addition to ensuring that the professional walkers are near to the clients – he wants to stay local and on foot, not drive across town and certainly not fly thousands of miles – the app would let walkers and clients rate each other.
15 “Awesome concept. There are plenty of screwed up lonely people out there,” said one of his Facebook commenters, suggesting the job is more people whisperer than walker.
16 But according to McCarthy, paying to be walked does not mean people are friendless. It just means they cannot always coordinate leisure time with friends, which leaves them isolated. “We’re on phones and computers constantly communicating but we’re not connecting as much. We need that human interaction.” 17 We also need exercise. McCarthy has lost weight since starting the professional walking. But McCarthy stresses that he is not a personal trainer. “I motivate people to leave their houses and walk. I’m not a drill sergeant shouting at them.” 1. Match the key words with the definitions below. Then, find them in the article to read them in context. The paragraph numbers are given to help you.
bemused confessional insignificance lead striding stroll confidences recruited glimmers scrawl grumbling screwed up 1. very small amounts of something, that may not be noticed by everyone __________________ (para 1) 2. a long narrow piece of leather, chain etc. that you attach to the collar around a dog’s neck in order to control the dog __________________ (para 2) 3. something written carelessly or in a hurry so that it is difficult to read __________________ (para 5) 4. a slow walk for pleasure __________________ (para 6) 5. not being large or important enough to be worth considering __________________ (para 7) 6. walking with energy and confidence __________________ (para 9) 7. admitting to bad or embarrassing things that you have done __________________ (para 10) 8. secrets told to someone __________________ (para 10) 9. complaining, especially continuously and about unimportant things __________________ (para 11) 10. employed __________________ (para 12) 11. confused __________________ (para 14) 12. feeling very upset, unhappy or confused, especially as a result of a bad experience __________________ (para 15) 2. Answer the questions with information from the article.
1. What skills do people walkers need? 2. Why might people use the services of a people walker? 3. How does Chuck McCarthy currently advertise his business? 4. What changes might he make to his business in the near future? 3.a. Match the words to make collocations from the article. Then, match the collocations to their definitions.
clients repeat drill franchise leafy business sergeant whisperer neighbourhood people 1. a type of business in which you pay someone a part of your earnings in order to use their model, advertising, apps etc.
2. customers that use your service again after they have used it for the first time 3. an area of a town that has a lot of trees and houses 4. someone who you can feel comfortable with and whose role is to listen to you and reassure you 5. someone in the army whose job is to train soldiers to march and do other military exercises 3.b. Use the collocations to complete the sentences.
1. Chuck McCarthy is becoming known as a _______________________.
2. He encourages people to leave their houses and go for a walk. But he doesn’t want to shout at people – they are not in the army and he is not a _______________________________! 3. He walks with his clients in a park and through a __________________________________ in Los Angeles.
4. He has many ________________________and he is pleased about that.
5. His idea is possibly the start of a new ___________________________.
4. Use the words to make three-word expressions from the article.
Then, use the expressions to complete the sentences.
bare fame for glimmers living of souls a their 1. Although he’s an actor, Chuck McCarthy is currently finding __________________________ in his new job.
2. His business idea is walking with people _____________________.
3. When out walking, some clients __________________ by telling their secrets to Chuck.
5. Discuss Would you ever employ a people walker for yourself or for someone you know? What would you want to know about the people walker before you employed them? Could this business model be successful in Barcelona? Why? Why not? ...