I embarrassed myself the first time I drove a Ferrari.

My first valet job, part time in college. I was a few months into the job and felt confident.

Down the lane, I could see the headlights of an exotic car. I stood at attention, ready to take the car. As it came closer, I saw it was a Ferrari 308. I had never driven a Ferrari before!

I greeted the owner and settled into the car. I took it very easy with the clutch, trying my hardest not to stall it. The clutches on these old Italian exotics were tricky, or so I heard.

I kept slipping the clutch, and felt the engine load up, but the car wouldn’t budge. I had only every driven stick shift my entire life. What could I possibly be doing wrong with this simple task?

The owner was watching. He opened the door and advised the handbrake was still engaged. On this Ferrari 308, the handbrake was between the seat and the door. When engaged, it laid flat instead of sticking up like every other handbrake I’d encountered. Tricky! I finally got the car underway and made it to the other side of the valet stand.

Without explicit direction, it was understood by everyone that I would park this car directly up front.

I angled the car and prepared to reverse. Still frazzled by the handbrake incident, I nudged the shifter over and towards reverse. GRRRIND! Oh, please, no! I nudged it again. GRRRIND! I nudged it a 3rd time, thinking the shifter had to first be pushed down like some European cars. GRRRIND!

The customer was still there, watching everything. Cringing. My manager, who also watched the entire thing, opened the door and calmly took over.

It was over 10 years ago and I still feel like a dumbass thinking about it.