ORLANDO, Florida. – A simple suit, a flower pot and a convenient place to install four cameras. That’s all Bushman needs. And that’s what he calls himself.
“I’m Bushman,” Bushman says.
In fact, he is one of ten Bushmen in the country. In particular, he is a “Florida bushman” and his job description is as simple as you might expect.
“Scare people as they walk by,” explains The Bushman.
His main goal?
“Someone is talking on a cell phone, someone is not paying attention. I focus on distracted people,” says Bushman.
But some pedestrians are prohibited.
“Pregnant women, disabled people, high heels,” explains The Bushman.
Safety is paramount. He has street performer insurance just in case, but he knows exactly how to stay out of trouble.
“We make sure we don’t kick them out,” says Bushman.
So who is the Florida Bushman? His name is Chris Hunt from Lakeland, and he was a Florida bushman for ten years.
“It took about three to four years to start making a decent amount of money,” Hunt explains.
He makes money on YouTube. Hunt’s highly organized channel was rewarded for reaching the 100,000 subscriber mark. Right now he is in the middle of 200,000 and he has a goal of reaching at least a million subscribers.
The category that works best for him online?
“Scare the men. Actually making grown men scream like babies, making them run, jump, scream,” Hunt laughs.
Chris first got the idea to become the Florida Bushman when he witnessed the “Las Vegas Bushman” in action.
“He brought a lot of smiles and laughter to me and my family, so I wanted to do it for other people. And I get comments and text messages saying, “Your videos take me out of a dark place.” I had a boyfriend who told me that he had colon cancer, that he had to retire at 47. And when he watched my videos, during those 8 minutes, cancer was not a problem for him. So that takes him out of this place. And that’s one of the reasons why I do it,” Hunt explains.
Chris can understand the power of humor in healing.
“So when I was born, I had a hole in my heart. When I was 11 months old, I had my first heart surgery and a pacemaker. To this day, I still have a pacemaker. I had leukemia, went through four years of chemotherapy. When I was 14, I had a stroke. So I went through all this.
Today, at the age of 33, with his wife and two children, he is still living with the effects of a stroke, first hand, so to speak.
“I need to think about opening my hand to open it,” Hunt explains, unclenching the clenched fingers of his right hand with his left hand.
But his health has nothing to do with his job as a Bushman, a role Chris takes seriously. He dabbles in sound effects to heighten the fear, such as a rubber chicken and a train horn.
“It scares them quite a lot. Some people get mad because it’s so loud,” Hunt recalls.
However, just a modest movement, a peaceful planter pop-up elicits the best response. Chris even got hit.
“You run, scream or swing. Most of the time they apologize and apologize and I hug them and tell them it’s okay, that’s your reaction. That’s what I’m looking for,” says Hunt.
Good customer service, something he no doubt learned from his first job.
“I worked at Space Mountain at Disney World for 10 years,” Hunt says.
And when did he tell his superiors that he was quitting to become a full-time Bushman?
“They wished me luck,” Hunt laughs.
But luck favors the brave, and Chris will continue to brave the Florida heat in his 15-pound suit, perfecting his flawless fears.