Free valet service makes positive first impression
Oct 29, 2016 11:03AM ● Published by MED Magazine
It’s been a more than a year since valet parking service was introduced at the front entrance to the Adele Hall Campus of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. In that time, it’s earned positive reviews from patients and their families, hospital employees, and the valets themselves. Valet assistance, contracted through ABM Healthcare Support Services, has been available for several years at Children’s Mercy’s emergency entrance. It was expanded to the front entrance last summer at the urging of hospital employees who, in working with patients and families, saw an opportunity to make their visits for surgery, lab work, dental, radiology or other clinic appointments more convenient.
“People can pull up under the canopy at the main entrance, and valets will help them unload, then park the car,” said Phil Lawler, Director of Security/Transportation. “It means that patients and families can be inside and on their way instead of spending 10 minutes driving around the parking garage looking for a place to park.”
The service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; families of patients staying past 5 p.m. can retrieve keys from Security. Four to six ABM employees cover both the Emergency and main entrances and can float between the two locations if there’s a rush at either one.
About 30 parking spaces in the visitor garage are reserved for valet-parked vehicles. Valets also help those who are dropping off bulky items like donated blankets, books and toys, or patient visitors who need assistance. In a typical month, the main-entrance valets will park about 1,000 vehicles and assist with unloading an additional 650 cars or trucks.
The service is offered free of charge – and free of tips – and is one more way CM brings value to patients and families.
“Families love it,” says Sergio Pegueros, one of the ABM valets who, with colleague Shanta Reams, helped launch the main-entrance service. “It’s a great service that’s greatly appreciated.”
CM’s Volunteer Services team members are also among the valet service’s most avid fans, bringing the valets bottles of water on hot days and umbrellas when it’s raining. And clearly, the opportunity to be the first friendly face a patient sees brings personal satisfaction to the valets, too.
“We get to know the patients, who they are, what they’re here for,” said Sergio, who speaks both English and Spanish and can help with translation when needed.
Shanta, herself a mom, said, “We watch them grow, watch them heal, see some of them graduate” from the hospital. It requires compassion and empathy, and makes you very thankful.”
It also requires strength to lift wheelchairs, knowledge about how to operate all sorts of vehicles outfitted with a wide range of ramps, lifts and other special equipment, and commitment to taking care of cars, trucks and vans.
“We’re very protective of families‟ vehicles,” Shanta said.
But all the valets know what truly comes first.
“We make sure these babies get their help,” Shanta said.