August 6, 2015
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Maximo is a Midtown parking attendant, and member of Teamsters Local 272, who received some unexpected attention after a video featuring him went viral recently. A customer, unhappy with the amount she owed for parking, berated Maximo with an anti-immigrant tirade, caught on tape by a bystander. She called him “garbage” and an “idiot,” repeatedly telling him “learn how to speak English,” as he tried to explain the bill to her.
While Maximo could be forgiven for being depressed over the interaction, he is not. “I’m feeling really good because I have the support of my union, as well as my company.”
Local 272 Secretary-Treasurer and Business Manager Matthew Bruccoleri has a message for customers who vent their frustrations at ordinary workers. “You may be having a bad day, but you shouldn’t be taking it out on the garage guy. These are hardworking, family people. This is their job. They are here because they need the job to feed their families.”
Parking is hard work. As temperatures hovered in the low 90s in New York over the past week, they climbed to 110 in the underground garages. Workers have to master the physical and intellectual challenges of quickly moving and arranging vehicles in those hot conditions, while also serving as the face of the company. While few customers are as abusive as the one who berated Maximo last week, angry customers are a frequent part of the job.
Sal Golfo, a Business Agent and Trustee at Local 272, says “Going in there and degrading them, talking down to them, that’s not going to get your car any faster. You are just ruining someone’s day. You don’t have any idea what’s going on in his life. Especially when its 90 degrees outside and he’s out there working hard.”
“The truth of the matter is, there are a lot more nice customers than bad customers, but the bad customer outshines everyone else who is nice,” says Bruccoleri. “That one bad apple leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It ruins your day.”
Maximo is hoping that the video can help people think twice about how they treat the man or women who parks their car.
“Everyone can change the way we treat each other. Everyone is a human being.”