Rent a friend in Thailand


People-renting services are peculiar yet popular. For example, Mr. Shoji Morimoto from Japan is a well-known companion who accompanies his “clients” for different occasions for a certain price. 

Inspired by Mr. Morimoto, Phurin ‘Leo’ Donsri started his own “rent a friend” service in Thailand. 

Check out more Thais doing things differently:


Different roles upon request


During his video-creating internship, 22-year-old Leo was assigned to work on an odd job – during the research stages, he found Mr. Morimoto.

Leo then decided to adapt Mr. Morimoto’s business model and set up a Facebook page called Diew Pai Pen Puen La Gun, which translates to “I’ll go and keep you company” reported SME Thailand Club. 

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or BoyfriendScreenshot: Paiduaydaina

His first client was a teenage girl who hired Leo to dress up as a mum and accompany her in studying, shopping and playing games at the arcade. Leo accepted the gig because it was close to his place.

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or BoyfriendAdapted images from: Paiduaydaina (Left), Paiduaydaina (Right)

Another customer requested that Leo dress as Park Seong Yul from Netflix’s Korean series, Itaewon Class. 

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or Boyfriend
Image credit: Paiduaydaina

Translation:
Customer: I want to feel like I’m going out with Park Seol Yul.
Leo: Have you had a look at my face? Lol
Customer: No worries. You can have a similar haircut and clothes as oppa, that’ll work for me. lol.

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or BoyfriendLeo, oops, Park Seong Yul and his customer
Image credit: Paiduaydaina


Disrupting the market 


The creative entrepreneur’s Facebook page has received a lot of attention. Leo attributes his service’s popularity to the fact that many are out of touch with society and unfortunately do not have a squad IRL

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or BoyfriendHe was tasked to accompany a staff at a real estate office and to pose in an advertisement for Line Man.
Adapted images from: Paiduaydaina (Left), Paiduaydaina (Right)

Whilst Leo asks that his customers subsidise his transportation and meals, the “rental fee” is completely up to them. For advertisements and promotional gigs, he charges ฿3,500 (~USD112), shared Bangkok Post

However, the “rent-a-friend” does have conditions: Leo does not accept any sexual requests or anything related to nightlife, as mentioned on One News 31


Who is Shoji Morimoto?


Shoji Morimoto, a 37-year-old Japanese man, started his “rent a person” service in 2018; his motivations were to go against societal norms and typical careers. He also struggled to fit in with his colleagues and peers. 

Thai Man Starts "Rent-A-Friend" Service, Will Dress Up As Your Mum Or Boyfriend
Mr. Shoji Morimoto
Image credit: @makiwi

Shoji’s past clients include a divorcee who wanted someone to accompany her to file the request and many who want someone to have a meal with, written by Gai Jin Han.


An interesting job


Humans naturally crave connection and social interaction. These individuals like Leo and Shoji make it easier for those looking for companionship but don’t know how to approach their peers. Their jobs are very interesting and impactful for others.

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Cover images adapted from: Paiduaydaina (Left), Paiduaydaina (Right)

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