I'm a Valet. It's not a hard job, but I'm very good. I don't make mistakes; it's not my style.
Last night, for just a moment, I thought I slipped and screwed up.
The process is simple; A car pulls in, I open the door for the lady, then round the car and hand the driver a ticket stub with a specific number on it. The other half of the ticket stays with the keys and is filled out with pertinant information: stall number, color and model of car. I quickly and effeciently park the car square and centered, note the information and store the keys in the valet closet. Easy, but busy.
I work by myself for about an hour, sometimes more, and then a co-worker comes in. Usually, I have about 20 cars parked by the time my co-worker arrives. It gets hectic, but like I said, I don't make mistakes and I was on point tonight moving quickly form car to car without error.
As people leave, we are usually forewarned by the waiter by a couple minutes. This allows us to stage the car ready and running, all that is left is to confirm ticket stub to ticket stub. (very important since we get about a million rented Sebring convertibles)
Then a foreshaddowing of trouble to come...a waiter asks about a ponitac with no ticket. I check the closet; we have no ponitiacs or keys without tickets...someone is mistakin.
Five minutes later the trouble comes by way of a 30-something couple with their lippy grandmother. I ask for the ticket, they reply, "no one gave us ticket". "IMPOSSIBLE", I think to myself. The grandma chips in with "I thought it was odd that we didn't get a ticket or something". I ask what kind of car they are driving..a white Ponitac Torrent with 2 child seats in the back. I instantly remember parking the car, I know where it is. I check the closet tags for a Pontiac Torrent; we have none, and as far as SUV's go, we only had a couple T-blazers and a couple Uplanders. I could not find their keys, and they claim they received no ticket. IMPOSSIBLE.
Meanwhile, I am handling other customers and sending them on their way. By this time, the driver as invited himself to root through the key closet and began pressing unlock buttons by the handfull. The grandmother, still yapping, is of no help. My co-worker begins checking other cars for the possibility that I may have unknowingly dropped the keys in another car. "IMPOSSIBLE', I think to myself.
At this point, I am ready to accept full responsibility for losing the keys, and even submit to the possibility that I did not give them a ticket. I make a plan:
1. Calm the customer, lippy Grandmother especially.
2. Call Hertz to get another key.
3. Call a cab to return them to their hotel.
4. Return the Pontiac ASAP.
5. Pay for everything out of pocket.
Good plan. Now Implement. I inform the couple and granny and then call Hertz. A light of hope begins to shine as I recite the liscense and the agent asks if its a Chevy Uplander. "What? A CHEVY UPLANDER? No! It's a Pontiac. Thanks." CLICK.
Can you believe it? Hertz mislabled the key tag as a Chevy Uplander. Instantly, I knew exactly where the keys were.
Unfortunately for me, my co-worker happened on the keys by chance at the same time. While checking ever other car for the missing keys, he eventually found the mislabeled keys himself and was pulling the Torrent down as I began to explain what happened. He was the Hero; I was the Idiot who didn't know what was going on.
I told them, "Hertz mislabled your car as a Chevy Uplander, and by the way, the keys had a ticket, you must have misplaced your stub."
"Oh.. well... thank you", as he handed me a $2 tip.
Problem solved. People and yappy Grnadmother gone. I was of no major fault.
1. Don't trust key tag for vehicle info.
2. Second step should have been to find cars position and find tag marked with that stall number.
And might I say, I handled the whole ordeal oh so calmly.