Valet workers give cars away to people who act like a car is their's... especially if they've got a ten or twenty dollar bill in their hand.
And if you drop your claim ticket and somebody else finds it and then uses it to claim YOUR valet parked car, the valet will probably also give your car away.
There is a simple step you can take to add an extra layer of defense to your valet parking experience that will make it less likely your car will disappear: Make a tag like the one above.
I used a sold tag from a furniture store, made a quick design on a computer, printed it, cut it and taped it. Voila...
It does two things:
It reminds the valet to ask for your claim ticket.
It instructs the valet to confirm ownership by getting the codeword.
If somebody has your claim ticket but doesn't know the codeword, that's a big red flag. And it might stop the valet from giving your car to a thief.
Another factor that is to your advantage here is the novelty of the tag. The valet has probably never seen one of these and probably will be curious to quiz you on what the codeword is.
If you don't provide the correct answer, then there is a good chance they will withhold the key until they are satisfied that you are the car owner.
One other thing...
Attach to this codeword tag only the one key necessary to operate your car, and no others.
Don't give them all the keys to your life... because valet workers do lose keys from time to time.
Keep all those other keys with you, including a spare key to your car in case the valet service loses the key you gave them. It can save you a ton of hassle and inconvenience.