There's a Tampa cab driver who considers himself a "ninja" of sorts. He's using martial arts techniques to fight sleep, and earn every dollar he can during the RNC.
"This is one of the best taxi drivers we've had thus far," said Mary Russell, who was in town from Dallas, TX. She and Jeff Stinson, who's in from Boston, MA, are repeat customers of cabbie Greg Mejia.
"So far, it's been a great experience," said Stinson. "We're enjoying it completely."
Mejia goes by the nickname "Kineji" and considers himself a modern-day ninja.
"I am very into Japanese culture," said Kineji. "My goal one day is go to Japan."
Kineji practices Tai-Chi to help relax his muscles stay focused and go the distance. He's barely slept a wink, but this ninja cabbie made a killing this week.
"Since Friday, I've made over $4,000," he said.
After gas and lease expenses on the vehicles, most cabbies average around $500 weekly.
"This is a job where you really gotta hustle," said Kineji. "It's your own business."
Tuesday was incredible, with back to back trips to Tampa International Airport all day.
"They were knocking on my window, I'll pay you more! Take me!," said Kineji. "They were telling the other customer, take him out, I'll pay whatever he's paying, I'll pay you way more! Give you a great tip, a hundred dollars! And I really can't take a customer that's already in the cab out of the cab, to bring in another one, that's just totally against what we do in the cab business."
Keneji has been driving non-stop since last Friday and said, as long as the RNC's in town, he's gonna grab every dollar he can.
"I took down those seats in the back because they're collapsible, so at night, when it gets kinda slow, I'll sleep for two hours, then I'll come right back into it," he said.
"We really don't advise them doing that, because it's not very healthy," said Cesar Padilla, who is the Hillsborough County Director of Public Transportation. Aside from Monday's mess with Isaac, Padilla said things are good.
"During the day, it's dormant," said Padilla. "I guess everybody's partying too much in the evening before, but right now, it's picking up."
Of the nearly 700 cabbies in just Hillsborough County, most are working well past two in the morning.
"They were happy," he said. "You ask, are you tired? Oh! No, no, no, no, no, they will tell you back. It's a lot of business and they'd be a fool not to do it."
Kineji's plan is to keep on going, right through Friday, then take a break for a long, relaxing holiday weekend. You can see more of Kineji the Ninja Cabbie's adventures on YouTube, just search kinejiforever.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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