Someone's Got To Do It: Jobs In The Travel Industry

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Indy Lifestyle Online
MATTHEW SHIEL is a rickshaw hauler in Toronto

"I'm a student from the University of Wales in Swansea; I'm studying American Business Studies. I was at university in Ottawa for one year as part of an exchange programme.

I was due to go back to England to do an internship for the summer, but as I had such an amazing time in Canada snowboarding, rock-climbing and white-water rafting, I decided to drop my internship and be a rickshaw runner instead.

It's the best money I've ever earned in my life. At the moment I save C$1,000 every week (about pounds 420), which I put in the bank. It's expensive to take a rickshaw - it's C$3 per block per person.

And then, of course, some people pay you in US dollars instead of Canadian, so you're getting a lot more than C$3 per block. The money's excellent; people tip you amazingly.

I've had some astonishing experiences with this job. I met some businessmen from Ohio and we went on an all-night bar-crawl. I worked from 6pm until 3am and took them around the cocktail lounges, cocktail bars and cigar lounges.

Everywhere we went we had to drink with them; luckily the police don't breathalise rickshaw drivers. At the end of the night they paid me about C$300. They had already spent about C$200 on me during the night.

When I started doing it, my father went absolutely ballistic. He said to me, "Son, get your arse back over here to England!" I was on the phone to him and I said: "Dad, I'm sorry, you're going to have to come and get me. This job's awesome!"

I've met some amazing people, incredible contacts. It's an absolute adventure. It's hard work - physically it's tough. More than anything it's hard because you're selling a vastly overpriced ride, so that when you meet people you have to try to make them not think about the price, because otherwise they won't take a ride. But it's fun and I enjoy it.

In the first week, I met a beautiful Canadian girl. I was going to work here for three months, or however long it would take me to save enough money to head out to Vancouver, but I've decided that I'm going to stay here all summer and save my pennies - or rather my dollars - and then go back to university for my final year.

Who knows? I might even set up my own rickshaw company - it's a very lucrative business, and in a great city."

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