Bullied 11-Year-Old Sets Up Advice Stand In NY Subway

11-year-old Ciro Ortiz giving advice in NY subway.

What’s an 11-year-old sixth grader to do with his frustration when he’s being bullied at school? Ciro Ortiz decided to help others by opening an advice stand in the New York City subway.

Ciro charges $2 for five minutes of ’emotional advice’. According to the rave reviews he gets — to say nothing of the international attention — that’s quite a bargain.

The pint-sized advice-giver has an incredibly broad and wise perspective; he’s able to see the big picture in ways that people trapped in their problems can’t. Take the following marital advice, for example. When a man complained that his wife had become vegan, Ciro had this to say:

I told him that she didn’t get mad at him for eating meat. She likes to eat what she wants and he likes to eat whatever he wants so they’re just gonna have to deal with it.

There you have it, from the mouths of babes, so to speak. People are different. If you want to be with a person — deal with it.

What does he suggest for those who voice the most common concern — that they won’t find love because they’re with the wrong person or that the right person will never come along? Try this mind-blowing statement:

 When you were brought into this world, you were born into someone loving you. Look at it like that.

But no matter what concerns people are voicing, they share a common problem. Adults have difficulty dealing with change. He told the New York Post:

They feel a certain way in the past and when they look [back] in hindsight, they say things were so much better back then.

We have to accept [change]. It’s going to happen — it’s always going to happen. Life is always changing.

Wow! Feeling the impulse to buy a plane ticket to New York? Ciro’s hours are only from noon to 2 p.m. on Sundays, and you better hurry up. Word is spreading so fast, you’ll probably have to stand in line. His story is making it around the world.

The UK’s Metro reported his fee in pounds, for the convenience of travelers from Great Britain to New York. The publication quoted the 11-year-old boy’s basic philosophy:

People ask about their relationships, about being confused in what to do with their life, or […] Donald Trump. I just tell them to look at the simplicity of their problem. To just find the simple answer, what do they NEED and the answer is usually simple.

How did Ciro become so much wiser than many adults may ever be? He, himself, thinks he gets that wisdom from his parents because they’ve encouraged him to do two things: to be kind and to pursue his dreams. They certainly have backed him in this venture — accompanying the 11-year-old every Sunday and staying in touch with him by Instagram as he works.

His father, Adam, thinks Ciro has always been more mature than his grade level. It shows not only in his son’s advice, but how the boy uses his money. Adam said:

He buys food or snacks at school for kids who can’t afford them. He’s not selfish with his money.

Ciro’s mother, Jasmine, thinks it’s wisdom born at least partly from experience. She told the Post:

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.’ 

He doesn’t hold his experiences at school against the other children, saying it’s not their comments that bother him, but the feeling of not belonging. Now he has a place where he belongs — and where he has literally dozens of new friends.

Just don’t count on him doing this forever. The 11-year-0ld isn’t planning on making a career out of giving advice. He has his eye on becoming a video game developer.

After all, ‘life is always changing’ — and Ciro doesn’t mind that at all.

Feature photo, Ciro Ortiz, via @Actu_Valerie on Twitter.

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Deborah Montesano

Deborah Montesano is a political blogger and social activist. In spite of years of monitoring the political scene in America, she remains optimistic about the future.
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