Under no other circumstances would we hand over our keys to a stranger and let them drive off. But at almost every restaurant, valets hop into Porsches, Kias and whatever else pulls up and roar away.
Tullos has been at it for a decade--the last eight at Al Biernat's. He put himself through college working as a valet and hasn't been able to quit, despite holding down a day job with Dallas bank.
Oh, geez--handing over our keys to a banker...
But it's easy to understand the attraction: depending upon where they work, full-time valets in the city can make anywhere between $20,000 to $80,000 a year--sometimes even more. And if your looking for the best car to drive for, oh, 50 yards, there's no better person to ask...
1. What's the best car you've driven? A McLaren F1. But, you know--after awhile, it's just another car to park.
2. How long does it take until that 'just another car' thing kicks in? I've been doing this for ten years. It's all a blur now.
3. If you just needed to drive, oh, 50 yards, which car would be the best? Let's see here...I like to drive the Aston Martins. They go the fastest over a short distance.
4. Can you have any fun driving these things? No, you can't.
5. And on the downside, there's running in summer...It's bad. I don't know what I can compare it to, but you're never ready for it. You gotta build up your endurance. It gets about 120 on the asphalt. I couldn't do it in long pants.
6. What do you drive? I drive a Ford F-150. I like it: King Ranch, pretty loaded up.
7. Ever get tired of driving? You would think I'd get tired of it. I get tired or running more than I do of driving.
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8. Can you tell from the car how someone is going to tip? No, actually. A lot of times the nicest car will tip $5 and the worst car $20. But here, we're fortunate. Half the people coming in are regulars.
9. How come you guys never put my car in one of those premier spots? It's probably under $50,000. Or you haven't given us $20 before.
10. Does the restaurant serve you food? Yeah, all the time--just takes a walk to the kitchen. They take care of us pretty well, good discounts. Food, cars, exercise--it's not such a bad job.