We Can Learn a Lot From The Guy Who Parks Cars

Recently I was at a party where valet parking was provided.  At the end of the evening when the guy brought the car to us I gave him a generous tip.  I then picked up the ticket he left on the dashboard and pulled the matching ticket from my key and tried to hand it to him.  He gave me a somewhat aggravated look and asked me where he was supposed to put it.  I said, “Why don’t you put it where you just put the tip I gave you?” 

Really, I wanted to tell him to put it somewhere else.  I also wanted to ask for my tip back.  He didn’t seem appreciative of it to begin with – and I know it was generous.   But it was the holiday season, and it just wasn’t worth starting up with him.

Contrast that with this story.  A friend of mine, Scott Ginsberg, works part time at the Ritz as a valet.  A guest arrived in a rental car and he couldn’t find the door handle right away.  Scott opened his car door to welcome him to the hotel.  The man jokingly complained it would be nice if he had a nicer rental car.  Scott joked back and told him he would try and find a Bentley for him before he left.  That humor and special attention to the customer earned Scott a $100 tip. 

Throughout the stay, Scott would greet the gentleman and the joke continued as he said he was still looking for the Bentley.  Scott continued to be rewarded with generous tips.

On the gentleman’s last day at the Ritz, Scott presented him with a gift.  Earlier in the day Scott drove to the Bentley dealership and bought a very nice model of a Bentley, had it wrapped and presented the “car” to the man as he was leaving the hotel.  Scott said, “See that?  I told you I would find you a Bentley.” 

The Bentley model cost $60.00.  (Pretty high price for a model, but it is a Bentley!)  Scott collected far more from this gentleman than the $60.00 cost for the gift, but that isn’t the point.  Scott loves people.  He engages with them in conversation and loves the interaction.  That is why he is so good at what he does.  It wouldn’t matter if he parked cars, sold clothes, etc. (In a moment I’ll tell you what else he does.), his desire to make people feel appreciated and special are what makes him a success.  And, he didn’t have to buy the guest a gift.  He just wanted to, because that is the kind of guy Scott is.

Unlike the way I felt toward the valet who was just parking cars, the guest at the Ritz wanted to take care of Scott, not just for parking his car, but for making his day a little bit better.

And now, as Paul Harvey says, here is “the rest of the story.”  Scott is 23 years old and parks cars at the Ritz as a part time job as he works on his career as a professional speaker and author.  Scott is the author of “Hello, My Name Is Scott” and has been featured on CNN, in USA Today and more.  His company is Front Porch Productions and Scott’s purpose is, as he puts it, to be friendly to everyone in order to break down walls of social trepidation, thus spreading the fulfillment and sheer joy that can be found through interpersonal interaction.  To put it into better terms, he encourages you to step onto someone’s front porch to help enhance our society’s level of communication. 

To welcome people onto his “front porch” he wears a nametag every day, no matter where he goes, and he has been wearing it for over three years, never missing a day.  (You may want to go to his website www.HelloMyNameIsScott.com to learn more about this amazing guy.)

It is amazing to me how two guys who do the same thing, parking cars, can be so different.  Both are good at parking cars, but only one of them really understands what his real job is all about – taking care of people.



Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com  Web: www.hyken.com. For information on customer service training, go to www.TheCustomerFocus.com.

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