I was a valet once upon a time at a hotel while I was in college. One of my duties was also shuttle driver. This wouldn’t be so bad except the shuttle was a 15 y.o. full size ford van with seating for ~11 that hadn’t been maintained. Oh, it was a 2wd in a ski resort town where the average snow fall on the mountain was north of 300 inches per year. Oh, it also shaked like hell above 50, needed brakes, burnt oil and everything else from years of skipping maintenance.

One night while I was working I had a pick up of about 15 people that had a reservation in the restaurant. It was up a steep hill, lots of winding streets with a driveway that dropped precipitously down to the house where the people waited. Lots of sliding and fish tailing occurred while making my way up the hill. I grew up without traction control and lots of snow in the winter. So while this is manageable and great fun, it doesn’t scream high end resort professionalism.

I back the van down to the house knowing I would need a running start to get out. Fill up with people for my first trip.

First attempt, I was gentle with the throttle. I was trying to not slide around 8 slightly inebriated guests.

Second attempt, I tell everyone to hang on, the van might slide around a bit. This was a young crowd and they cheered at this possibility. Running start, tires sliding, no stopping, praying no traffic was oncoming. Van comes up and out of the driveway onto the street, predictably the back end comes around. I have to hold it and rotate the van full of people pretty far to avoid tagging the snow bank lining the road. No such luck as I hear/feel the bumper scraping the snowbank. The people are roaring, thinking this is all good fun.

When I drop them off, I am told a family is waiting in the cold with a sick little girl. 15 minutes there and back, I can squeeze the family in. I pick up the family and the little girl is white. She is not having a good time. I driving as slowly as I can go while still not getting stuck and trying to drive quickly. We are approaching the hotel and the girl is looking worse. She says she might throw up. Her mother is holding here, we are both saying hold one just one more minute, we are almost back. The mother and the little girl are seated in the passenger seat next to me.

As we come through the hotel gates, not 150' from the door. Literally less than 30 seconds from being stopped and standing on the sidewalk, the little girl loses it. Chunks everywhere. Mom, daughter, window, seat, carpet, it is all covered.

We stop, get her outside, and the family goes in.

I spent the rest of my shift trying to clean the van as best I could. At the end of the night it still reaked like puke but I had to park it with the windows up, locked in a heated garage. I left a note saying not to drive the van.

I get in the next day, the other valet had not seen the note and taken a guest somewhere. It was worse the second day. That van had a wretched smell until the end of the season. They replaced it with a new Suburban.

On the plus side I did get to valet a S8 with the v10 motor once.