The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers grew up in Las Vegas, and he cares a lot about his hometown. He’s talked about how he wanted to be a valet parker when he was a kid, and in a new op-ed for The Las Vegas Review-Journal, he calls for higher wages and fairer treatment of valet parkers at Las Vegas hotels. Read the whole thing below.
As crazy as it sounds, my childhood dream was to be a valet parker. For a hard-working Vegas kid too restless for a desk job, valet was it. It wasn’t just about parking cars, it was about being the first face you see when you arrive at the hotel — the hookup who knew the ins and outs of the town.
My family has a long history of working in Vegas. I had one grandmother at the Golden Nugget and another at the Stardust. I had aunts at Harrah’s, uncles at Bellagio and the Showboat, cousins at the Luxor and Orleans, my old man at Treasure Island. I had jobs at the Gold Coast, Aladdin and Caesars. Wages and tips are important to every worker in town, and they used to be enough to support a Vegas family.
Now the valet profession is undergoing a big change. Hotels are starting to charge for self and valet parking, but they are not raising the valet salaries. It’s hard to explain how sacrilegious paid parking feels in a city known for sin, but I believe that the consequences of this are very real to a large group of people.
When you have to pay $13 or $17 to park with valet, people will start avoiding it. If they do cough up the high fees for what used to be a free service, people will be much less inclined to give a good tip. In some places, when you want to leave a tip and pay with a credit card, there isn’t even a tip line! I can walk into just about any fast food restaurant, order at the counter, throw my own trash away when I’m done eating, and still that receipt has a line on it to leave a tip.
I’m upset because these are my people. These are the people that keep Vegas moving and they don’t deserve to take this kind of hit. Valet parkers have long days, running back and forth, trying to provide good service and taking care of your car. This isn’t right. This isn’t Vegas. This needs to change.
I am not a journalist. but the recent and impending changes to valet parking on the Strip have compelled me to speak up. Please join me in showing support for these hard working professionals by remembering to tip, and writing the resort operators to complain and push for what is right.