A New York City panhandler proudly admitted that he makes up to $200 an hour from generous passersby.
“On a Friday morning, I make $400 in two hours,’’ 43-year-old former theater stagehand Will Andersen, one of the city's many beggars, told the New York Post.
After being homeless for three years, Andersen is now able to rent a room a room, thanks to panhandling.
“I get people who give me five bucks each day," Andersen explained. "...that’s five days a week, two people — that’s $50 a week right there. I get dog food, I put away for rent. I pay $300 a month, that’s nothing.”
These findings come just days after New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton urged city residents to stop giving freely, NY Mag reports.
“My best advice to the citizens of New York City: If this is so upsetting to you, don’t give," Bratton said at a press conference with the mayor on Nov. 9, according to NY Mag. "One of the quickest ways to get rid of them is not to give to them."
Indeed, some passersby are so generous that people like Andersen sometimes only need to find one extremely kindhearted person to score big.
“I have gotten $80 or $100 from a single person," he told the New York Post. "And they will say, ‘Just do something good tonight.’ They mean go to a hotel or a hostel."
The panhandler acknowledged that finding a good location and bringing along his 9-year-old dog, Rizzo, help make his profession lucrative.
“People are more generous because I have a dog, 100 percent," he said, while sitting next to a duffel bag full of food people have given him. "They throw me a dollar and say, ‘That’s for the dog.'"
In the city, it can be tough to find a lucrative location, so it is all about finding a good balance.
“There are other spots where people get hundred-dollar bills," said one 36-year-old vagrant who identified himself only as Daniel. "I could go over to Fifth Avenue and make $150 before lunch. But I don’t want to deal with the hassle. There's people that bully you to get out of the good spots."