Football is a big deal at the University of Florida. Our stadium holds about 90,000 people and I have never seen an empty seat in there on a game day. It’s almost a religious experience here.
The campus itself, however, is just not big enough for 90,000 people to drive around and find parking spots close to the stadium. Instead, they opt for alternate modes of transportations like shuttles and mini taxis.. or in my case-Peddlin’ Paul.
Paul bikes hundreds of miles a game day peddling around like this with a contraption behind him that seats up to four people. It’s no wonder he’s in top physical shape.
But this is a relatively new career for Paul. Five years ago when the housing market when “down the tubes” as he says, he had to give up his real estate brokering career.
Paul is one of 500,000 people in the finance and real estate sectors to lose their jobs during the recession that has shaken the U.S. economy in the last several years.
But Paul was not shaken by the loss of his job and change in his life. He found hope, instead, in Craigslist. That’s where he found opportunities across Florida peddling people around on game days. Despite what might seem to be a downgrade, Paul says he loves meeting people, being outside, and most of all being a great help, particularly to elderly people. Just before my friend and I got behind his bike, Paul had helped a struggling man with cancer get to the stadium when the man had no other way of getting there to see his favorite Florida Gators play.
And of course, Paul says, he doesn’t mind serving those 90,000 carless football fans on UF game days, especially with a cold beer and a thousand bucks in tips at the end of every day he peddles.
“That’s my favorite part!”