In December a valet in California became the first to get caught driving recklessly in a parking garage with the help of a Corvette's "performance data recorder," (which includes video).
The car was seen going zero to 50 mph, in a parking garage, on national TV, and elsewhere all over the internet. It was a sensational story. And it was widely shared and talked about. The story had legs. It lasted a while, not just one day. This was a public relations debacle for the valet company and the valet company's client.
People said the valet was fired. This one rogue valet could have cost the valet company that account, and perhaps other accounts.
The newest valet scandal involving a car's video surveillance system has happened in New Zealand. It's getting a fair amount of buzz and causing the valet service's management some grief, yet the video is fairly tame.
It's a 13 minute video. The valet is a little rough with the car, stomps on the gas a few times, the tires screech a little in a turn, and the valet revs the engine a few times. No big deal, in my opinion. But it's getting all this attention!
(See the video here if you want, but it's not worth your time.)
And somebody on TripAdvisor just posted that they have video footage of valet abuse which occurred at Lisbon Airport. (Though there is no link to the actual video.)
Television news organizations love a good valet parking fiasco story. And more of these "valets gone bad" videos are going to begin to surface. It's almost inevitable. For valet companies and the venues that hire them, there will be real repercussions to face.
If you own a valet service or have contracted with one, then there is no better time than now to begin addressing the culture of permitting aggressive driving by your valets.
- You need to take it seriously and explain the threat that these dashcams pose.
- And you need to better monitor how your workers are handling their responsibilities with these cars.
Aggressive and reckless driving by your experienced valets spreads to your rookie valets. You need to stop this sort of driving behavior for:
- safety reasons,
- to protect the reputation of your client,
- and to reduce the chance of your company being pummeled with disastrous fallout.
You also need to have a clear policy on aggressive driving, and you need to police and enforce it.
This policy should be signed by your new hires as a condition of employment, so that it is clear from the very beginning that you emphasize safety. And it will cost them their job if they drive unsafely. Then you need to regularly remind them of this signed commitment they made.
Many of you spend too much time at a desk or elsewhere and not enough time seeing what goes on behind your back.
And to the venue operators who employ these services, it's not enough to trust that they will manage their valets effectively. You need to lean on them and find out what they are doing to make their operation better and safer. They can take you down. So don't be laissez faire about it.