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Burnside Shelter

Piff the Dragon works his magic, helping Portland Homeless

Comedian raises cash

The show was sold out, but nobody responded. The character on stage asked again,

“Does anybody have a 20 dollar bill?”

Jonathan put his hand up in the air, holding the exact amount.

What happened next, Jon never would have imagined, but perhaps that’s what you should expect at a magic show—the unexpected. Next moment he was swept up on to the stage, standing in front of a full house.

“What’s your name? What do you do here?” said the creature. Creature—because the man was dressed head to toe in an almost-childlike dragon costume, with a big tail trailing behind him.

Known as “Piff the Magic Dragon” (as seen on America’s Got Talent), he had with him his trusty side-kick, “Mr. Piffles,” a pet Chihuahua, also dressed dragon.

Jonathan answered. “Jon, and I volunteer at the Portland Rescue Mission.”


“You know Jon,” Piff answered slyly, “This isn’t some dating site to pick up chicks. You can tell us all the truth.”


“No I really do. I volunteer down at the Portland Rescue Mission.”


“That’s pretty cool,” said Piff in his native British accent. “What do you need down there? I know you guys been having really cold weather.”


“We could use bla..”


“Don’t tell me!” said Piff. “Tell them!” He pointed to the audience.


Jon turned to face everyone. “We could really use blankets and gloves. We could use socks…They’re never out of style.”


“That’s awesome,” said Piff, folding Jon’s $20 bill, transforming it into a fake magic trick $1.

“How did he do that?” Jon thought to himself.


Piff sent Jon to his seat and carried on the show. Shortly after, the Dragon stopped and announced: “So the show’s not over, but at the end of the show, outside front here, you are going to be able to take pictures with myself and Mr. Piffles. It’s free to take a picture with me, but if you want a picture with Mr. Piffles, it’s $5. Today, we’re going to donate every dollar that’s donated for a picture with Mr. Piffles and I’m going to give it to Jon and the Portland Rescue Mission.”


The crowd cheered.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Jon said, looking back. “I actually thought he was kind of joking. I didn’t think he was really serious.”


At the end of the production, Piff thanked his audience and called Jon back up. “Jon, come on! Get up here!” He told the audience that the two of them would meet everyone in the lobby.


Then Piff brought Jon backstage.

“Are you really doing this?” asked Jon.


Jon’s $20 was magically multiplied.

People kept giving cash for Portland Rescue Mission and telling Jon, “Thank you so much for your service.”

“I couldn’t really even talk. I was blown away,” said Jon.

After everyone left, Piff had one more trick up his sleeve for Jon.

“Follow me,” he said.

They returned backstage.

“We’re going to count up all the money and I’m going to personally match it,” said Piff.

That night Jonathan’s $20 turned into a near 1K, all because of his heart for service at Portland Rescue Mission and a little help from a magic dragon, named Piff.


Ready for your own adventure? (No magic dragons guaranteed.) Apply today to serve as a volunteer at Portland Rescue Mission.

Watch KGW’s news coverage on this story: Comedian raises cash for homeless shelter.