A plain white backgound with just three sentences listed: "Can you walk and talk? Or are you just interested in being walked? Enter your email" followed by a submit button. This no-design website stands against the vividly coloured ultra-responsive web design we got used to. It praises simplicity aiming at direct personal contact. And so does the job it is advertising: walking people.
The People Walker started as a joke when Chuck McCarthy, an underemployed actor living in Los Angeles, wanted to get some extra cash. First he thought about walking dogs but, as he explained, he didn't like the idea of cleaning up after the dog. Putting animals out of the deal, he came up with the idea of offering random people walks in the neighborhood. The rules were simple: 7$ per mile, more listening than talking, respecting confidences. It turned out to be the service LA dwellers were waiting for! He got instant attention and gained some regular clients right away. The demand was actually too high to handle on his own, so Chuck McCarthy asked help for more distant areas of the city.
Now, with the worldwide attention from people and media, he's considering making a proper company to help people walk and be walked. About the reason of his success McCarthy says: "Just walking and talking and knowing that someone is listening can be amazingly helpful for most people, even if they aren’t baring their souls. (...) We communicate more and more through computers and phones and we don’t realise how much we are just communicating WITH computers and phones. We are missing human contact and interaction".
There's a grain of truth in every joke and The People Walker may prove it right.
Sources: The Guardian, Lonely Planet Travel News, The People Walker