Emerging from the pandemic hasn’t been all that easy. It’s been a bit like coming out of a coma or a hibernation. While the North Texas non-profits have regrouped raising funds for those in need, the vendors who service them have encountered challenges that many may not realize.
To provide servers and behind-the-scenes workers for fundraising events, it’s been a tough go trying to hire people who will show up … and, more importantly, be responsible.
Like restaurants, caterers have fought valiantly to bring back their servers and kitchen staffs who had to be let go during the months of the pandemic.
As for the valet parkers, it’s been even more challenging. In addition to bringing back their tried-and-true staffers, they’re having to find additional people who not only won’t screech cars out of the driveway but will not piffle through vehicles for “items.”
What’s that? What’s the big deal about these luxury businesses? Nothing, unless you realize that the people who give generously deserve quality because they have made this territory remarkable.
There have been times when fundraisers have carried on in icy and stormy conditions and these outdoor Sir Walter Raleighs had literally braved all the elements for the comfort of the patrons.
Even old-timers may not know that the event servers and parkers quietly make life seamless way beyond their job descriptions. Example: Following a major fundraiser when staffing for the cleanup got underway recently, organizers discovered that not enough staff had been arranged. Without hesitation, the servers/valets stepped in and worked into the early morning hours.
According to eyewitnesses, one situation arose a couple of years back when a prominent Realtor stopped all traffic at a residential driveway for an afternoon fundraiser. As the arriving cars stacked up, s/he was hot on making a deal come thru and wasn’t budging. Despite the valets’ repeated pleas, s/he was anchored to the driver’s seat. Finally the deal was done and s/he handed the car over to the parkers. An hour later, s/he claimed her car and tipped the valet with … a quarter.
Still another episode took place eons ago when a man who had built an empire and a reputation for philanthropy was also well-known among parkers as being a challenge for area valets. The routine was too familiar. Upon his arrival with his petite wife, he was pleasant but distant. But upon departure, his Dr. Jekyll had turned into a belligerent Mr. Hyde. On one occasion at a mansion along Beverly Drive, his ugly side got so out of bounds, the valets suggested that his diminutive Mrs. should take the car keys for the ride home. The gent was so outraged at the suggestion, he took a swing at the parker and hit his Mrs. instead. Thankfully, the situation was calmed down with Mr. in the passenger seat and the Mrs. driving home.
That said, if you attend an event in the weeks/months/years ahead where a server or parker is at your beck-and-call, at least thank them. And if you’re feeling kind of heart and wallet, kick in a little extra gratuity.
There are still those among area philanthropists who recall their early days when even a meager gratuity meant the difference in their household.
* Photo credit: Skeeter Hagler