A New York Man Is Using His Resemblance to Mike Pence To Raise Money For Charity

And he’s doing it without pants.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, through use of a sport coat and tie, not to mention genes that could make him Mike Pence's doppelgänger, one man in New York is using imitation for good.

Shortly after the Republican convention last summer, Glen Pannell's friends and family started to comment on his uncanny resemblance to future vice president-elect, he told New York blogger Howard Sherman. When a straightforward Pence Halloween costume seemed too easy, Pannell swapped his suit pants for a pair of short shorts, and "Mike Hot-Pence" was born. 

Pannell told A Plus via email that after the presidential election, he "needed some kind of defibrillator to bring me back to life." His costume had been much a hit and it made him laugh every time he saw himself in the mirror, so Pannell was inspired to morph into his Mike Hot-Pence alter ego once more and see if he could use the likeness to do good.

Pants-less, Pannell joined the Elmos and Power Rangers in Times Square and began busking for donations to Planned Parenthood. According to his Twitter feed, the first day, he raised $171.21 and returned the next weekend to raise money for other charities. As of publishing time, Pannell has collected over $1200 for The Trevor Project, which provides which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth. He donates to all of these organizations in Pence's name. 

"The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive," Pannell said. "People get the persona right away and they love it."

At times, Pannell has been struck by the generosity of others. On a recent outing, a young man from South Korea donated 1000 won after reading about the mission of The Trevor Project. The man said that even though his donation was less than a dollar, he wanted Pannell to know he thought what he was doing was good.

"I almost started to cry," Pannell said. "This guy doesn't even live here but he cares about saving the lives of our LGBTQ young people. That's incredible."

This is not the first time that Pence, a hard-line Republican whose record on LGBT and women's rights issues is less than stellar, has been targeted by some well-intentioned political hijinks. In November, American women donated to Planned Parenthood under his name, and his new Maryland neighbors welcomed him to the area by hanging rainbow pride flags outside their homes

For his part, Pannell says he'll be around as Mike Hot-Pence for a while. He feels like it's something the country needs right now and he says he's run a couple marathons, so he's got strong legs.

"I was really overwhelmed by the response in the first few days after my first time out collecting," he said. "But in hindsight, I'm not surprised that it caught on this much. Like me, so many of my friends and family and coworkers were looking for something to smile about, to laugh about, to feel hopeful about--I think Mike Hot-Pence checks all those boxes."

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