A man who used to be homeless has found a way to make thousands of dollars driving around in a luxury performance car.
Chris Carlyon, 47, has been working as an Uber driver for about 18 months, happily couriering passengers in his Chrysler 300c SRT.
The man, who once lived as an “upper class homeless man” in a van at Hillarys Dog Beach over 2014-15, said he could earn about $500 over a 10-12 hour shift on the weekend.
However, he said that amount had decreased since the pandemic hit.
He used to make up to $2000 from Friday to Sunday pre-COVID.
“After the lockdown, people were hesitant to come out … but I call Uber ‘the gravy train’ because you can make a comfortable income and life for yourself just by driving,” Mr Carlyon told NCA NewsWire.
He became homeless after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following a “violent assault” in 2010.
Mr Carlyon explained the condition developed after he was hit in the face, shattering his cheek bone into more than a dozen pieces.
“After the assault, if you had raised your hand — and didn’t matter (who it was) — I’d cower to the ground like a puppy so people and friends of mine took advantage of that.
“If they’d ask for something and were told ’no’ they’d become threatening in nature … standing over me.
“I’ve been around my fair share of bad people in my life and people you know just want to use you for what they can get out of you and then throw you to the kerb.”
After being homeless for about 18 months, he began working as a chauffeur for a local company and later started his own business called ACE Charter Vehicles while caring for his now 78-year-old father.
He later joined Uber and found it was a great way to “fill in time”.
“Meeting people is always the best thing.
“By talking to someone, you learn from them and they learn from you and that’s what actually makes you smart in the world.
“Doing Uber, I have never met a bad person yet and I’ve done nearly 3000 rides.”
Mr Carlyon has ambitions to purchase a Dodge Charger Hellcat — which will need to come from the US — and use it under the ride-share service.
“It will be the first one in WA and the first in the nation to be used for Uber,” he said.
“I want to be very different to other drivers so that way, when people hop in my car, like the Chrysler, they’re hopping in a car that they don’t expect to come and get them.
“That way they get a unique trip (and) they enjoy the ride even more … (sitting) in a car they’re not used to seeing.”
But Mr Carlyon said he was again facing eviction, along with his father Graham whom he lives with, as the landlords of his Balcatta home recently sold the property.
He said it was tough sourcing Perth rental properties because demand significantly outweighed supply.
“The problem is people are coming home to WA from other states or from overseas and … there are about 150 people who look at one house.
“What makes it worse is that some people have quite a bit of money and offer double the rent.”