Posted by: Lunchbox | June 21, 2007

Valet Secrets

(Editors note: That first day back at work after vacation always sucks the life out of me. I got my butt kicked these last couple days after a week off.)

As JP tries to find a worthy baseball team to follow, I too am coming to grips with the lazy sports days of summer. So, bear with me on my bit of randomness that follows.

Just about everyone, except maybe the trust-fund babies, can relate to having a part-time job or two in their day. I too have held my fair share of part-time jobs to supplement my income over the years: dish washer, security guard, fence builder, stable-hand, and valet attendant.

As a valet in Los Angeles, I’ve driven a lot of celebrities’ cars. I have also had the chance to make judgments based on the 60ish seconds of interaction I have with them, which may or may not be fair. I think the manner in which most people treat low level staff like valets and waiters shows a lot about their true personalities. Here are a collection of celebrities, wannabe celebrities, and sports figures whose cars I have parked and whose personalities I have passed judgment on.

I’ll start with the worst. The Pyle of List has never been a big fan of Kobe Bryant, and it’s for reasons like this: He showed up to a fund raiser in the passenger seat of a white Bentley Continental GT. We were asked by his people to keep his car up front because he was probably going to leave the event after only 30 minutes or so. About an hour later, his rep comes out and tells us to bring his car around because he is on his way out. His car is brought out and parked in the driveway with the AC on because it’s about 95 degrees out. Well, one of our valets ends up standing in the sun next to the car for about 90 minutes waiting for Kobe to show up. When the prima donna finally shows, the valet attempts to hand the claim ticket back to him but Bryant, in his self-infatuated way, absentmindedly signs the small ticket as if the guy was asking for an autograph. Then to top it off, he doesn’t leave the guy a tip. I guess he felt the signed claim ticket was more valuable than cash.

John Salley, who won “four championship rings, with three different teams, in three different decades and two different milleniums,” drove some kind of Mercedes-Benz with a glass roof, which seemed nice, but the roof made awful creaking noises at every bump (I don’t recommend getting one). I remember that I had to sit on the very edge of the seat in order to reach the pedals, making me feel like a kid playing in his dad’s car. When I returned his car and he gave me my tip, he did the cash-handshake move to perfection. So many people try that move, and so many fail completely. Kudos to you John Salley.

Tony Parrish, most recently a safety on the 49ers bench, showed up in a slick-looking black Bentley Continental GT. The car was the only thing he had going for him. Tony was a little weird: he came back out to his car at one point to change his shirt for some unknown reason and just looked pretty awkward the whole afternoon. The only reason I can figure that he couldn’t spare a few bucks for tip is because his car cost about $200,000…or he’s a loser.

Tiny little Kristin Cavallari was driving a pearl white Cadillac Escalade. She showed up wearing sunglasses of cosmic proportions and was accompanied by some guy who was even shorter than her and looked like he had just stepped out of a Quiksilver catalog. I’ll be honest though, Kristin looked very good.

Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley on LOST, never found the VIP parking area so I don’t really know what he was driving. He parked at the regular valet line and then tried to pick up his car at the VIP lot. He seemed lost (pun intended) and confused because he didn’t remember where he dropped his car off. He was pretty easy going though and just stood in the shade of a nearby tree smiling, I guess until he realized he was in the wrong place to pick up his car. I might be going out on a limb here, but it doesn’t seem like he has to act much for his role on LOST. It just comes naturally.

Gregory Itzin, who you may know as President Logan from “24”, drove a BMW 5-series I believe. He struck me as a pretty nice guy. He definitely did not look presidential though. He had a scruffy, hippie feel to him: patchy beard, Bermuda shorts and an earing.

Oscar De La Hoya drove a Mercedes G-wagon. I remember that one of the other valets, who was most likely mentally unbalanced (not uncommon in the seedy world of valet parking), saying that he could go ten minutes in the ring with De La Hoya. Well, when it came time to return Oscar’s car, the crazy guy turned out to be the one holding the door for him. Here’s how the conversation unfolded:

Crazy Valet: “I could go ten minutes in the ring with you.”

De La Hoya: “Heh, yeah…” (awkward grin)

CV: “No. I will go ten minutes in the ring with you.”

DLH: “Uhh…have a good night.”

CV: (to the other valets after he drove off) “He knew I could take him.”

Anyway, Oscar seemed like a pretty nice guy and very generous. He tipped one of the managers $200.

Tony Hawk drove a Lexus hybrid SUV with one of those bumper stickers that says “WTF” on one side and has a picture of President Bush on the other. I guess he’s not a fan. He had a couple of his children with him which just didn’t seem to fit the image. He must have been in a good mood because he tipped $20.

Jeff Garlin, someone who I recognized, but I wasn’t sure where from was very large and very loud. Turns out he’s one of the main characters on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. He ended up giving me a $20 tip for someone else’s car and that makes him alright in my book.

Tom Arnold, who had been at a carnival fund raiser for breast cancer, had apparently been in a dunk booth or something because he was very wet. He was also very loud (as you might expect) and much…larger…than I would have anticipated. I can’t remember what car he drove, but I think it was his car that Garlin picked up the tip for. I guess they don’t pay him much on Best Damn.

Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman showed up together in a Range Rover. Kimmel had that puffy-eyed stoned look, but I think that’s just how he is. Silverman was much nicer in person than she is on stage and she didn’t look quite so broad-shouldered as when she hosted the MTV Movie Awards recently.



  1. Brilliant. I should take a part-time job valeting in the summer just to have better material.

    I wish I could’ve seen Oscar’s face when the guy told him her could go 10 minutes in the ring with him.

  2. A friend of mine drove Town Cars in L.A. and told me he really liked David Schwimmer, but all he would say about Tyra Banks was “she has a really big forehead”. And this was ten years ago, when her forehead was really the last thing I noticed about her.

  3. By the way, this was oddly entertaining to me. I think you should write a column for Us magazine called “Valet Tales”.

  4. I think Oscar might have actually been a little bit afraid of the guy. Everyone is wary of a crazy, because you just don’t know what they’re going to do. In other news, that same crazy valet was fired a week later for making advances on a 17 year old female coworker. He was in his late 30’s.

  5. Lunchbox, these are truly the things we really need to know.

  6. Awesome stuff Lunchbox! Man, I love Kobe as a player, but as a person he’s dropping further, and further off the planet.

  7. No Jamie-Lynn Sigler sighting?

    She must park her own car.

  8. How was Mr. Belding? I’m sure he was pretty cool but Zach was a tool. Anyone with two first names as a first name just has to be one.

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