At Ink restaurant in LA, patrons might be more loyal to the guy who parks their fancy car than to the restaurant itself, suggests Phil Berg in The New York Times (9/28/13). When valet Bruno Cavallini takes the keys, he routinely asks the customer if there are any issues with the car. If the matter is a simple one, he might fix it himself. If not, he’ll offer advice on requisite repairs, sometimes even including a cost estimate. "He is really beyond a valet – he helps people with their cars, programming the radio, the seat memories and all that," says Michael Voltaggio, Ink’s chef.
Bruno parks up to 50 cars a night, and figures "he has probably solved a couple of problems on each shift over the last two years." His first job involved programming "the settings to make the automatic tilt-down feature of a door mirror work for a customer who has not yet cracked the code." As Bruno recalls: "The next day someone came in with a Mercedes and couldn’t figure out how to set the time on the clock, so I showed them … Then another guy came in with a Mercedes and didn’t know why the check engine light was on."
Bruno has been known to fix flat tires, and once even swapped out a halogen bulb from his own car to fix a customer’s headlight. Even if customers don’t mention any problems, he checks every car he parks "for operating turn signals and brake lights – and can often fix them right there." He’s also been known to chauffeur inebriated customers home. Bruno says he prefers this to opening a repair shop because few people keep exotic cars long enough to need major repairs. He’s often rewarded with generous tips, but says his ultimate reward is that he gets to drive – and fix – a lot of nice cars.