March 5th, 2019

Thumbs Up Vader

How dare we tell someone not to break the rules!

Here's a story from work. I feel okay telling this because it's not about a customer.

The airport's Valet area is on one end of the outer upper roadway in front of the terminal; we check in people's vehicles as they drop them off, and park vehicles nose-out for returning customers to pick up. On the other side of cones that we move back and forth based on Valet's needs, buses, taxis and ride shares drop people off. We watch out for Lyft and Uber drivers who pass those cones and drop off their passengers in front of Valet; if they do, we tell them that this area has to be kept open for our customers. (Drivers can get cited for doing this.)

A ride share driver in a large SUV did that this morning, and I was the one who needed to tell him not to do that again. As I walked out to the vehicle, the driver had finished helping his customer unload his bags. I told the driver, "Hi. I'm Chris with Valet. This area is for Valet customers, so we have to keep it clear for them. Next time you drop off," I said, gesturing in the correct direction, "make sure to do it on the other side of those cones."

The man just stared at me. Then he pointedly turned to his customer and told him "Have a good trip."

Oh, I thought. He doesn't want to listen. Well, I'd told him what I needed to say, and I'd been clear about it; I wasn't going to waste more breath. I didn't have to.

But as I walked back towards the Valet booth, I heard the driver say "Sir." Then "Sir!"

I made sure not to turn around, and acted as if I hadn't heard him. When I entered the booth and looked back, I saw a Valet supervisor walking towards that man's SUV. He spoke to the now-seated driver through the open passenger-side window. The driver was gesturing. My supervisor gestured, more sedately.

After a minute or so the man drove off, my supervisor walked back to the booth, and I asked him "Did he want me fired?" I said that reasonably jauntily.

Turned out (surprise, surprise) the man said he provided a "premium" service and to do so he wanted to drop people off as close to the terminal entrance as possible, and how dare we make his job more difficult. Keep in mind, we're talking a difference of a few yards. If that. My supervisor told the driver what I'd told him, adding some of the reasons why ("Valet can get busy") and added that, next time, other side of the cones please.

Congrats, random driver guy, you're one of the people customer service people laugh about.