Baristas, Bartenders and Bouncers: Pocket full of Benjis

By Jillian Sloan

The daily grind becomes the nightly run-around for valets like Travis Guinta at Barcelona on Scottsdale Road and the Hayden Greenway Loop. The North Scottsdale hot spot has its occasional celebrity sightings, but most nights it's just a steady stream of expensive cars and girls in short skirts. With a special event at the night club and a good pair of running shoes, Travis can rake in a couple hundred a night (and maybe even a few phone numbers). The 21-year-old is a drummer by day and takes your keys at night with the hope of receiving a fatty tip to help him earn money for Academy, a traveling drum and bugle corps that competes over the summer. And after a late night at Barcelona, he's up just a few short hours later to open at the popular smoothie spot, Jamba Juice. Tough break!

Valley Fever: What's the worst car you've ever driven?

Travis Guinta: I drove one where I had to pound on the steering well to start the car. You had to turn the key left and then right and then hit the steering wheel a few times to get the car to start. And it wreaked of tobacco smell. When you have to roll down the windows because it smells so bad, they call it a Holy Roller.

VF: What are your tips like?

TG: People that drive lambos and ferraris or regular customers that know us pretty well will tip us Benjamins. Some poeple don't tip you at all. One guy gave me a quarter and a nickel.

VF: Any interesting stories about women?

TG: One time there was a drunk couple and the boyfriend got pissed and shoved the girl into one of the cones. She she fell down and had a hard time getting up. She was also wearing a mini skirt so we got quite a show.

VF: Do you get hit on a lot?

TG: When you help the girls out of the cars a lot of times they're already a little drunk and when they hold on to your hand they don't want to let go. We get a ton of cougars. We've decided on what is considered a cougar; a mom that has a child your age but acts like she's still 21.

VF: Have you ever stalled out?

TG: Yeah, I stalled a Porsche. I was trying to park it up front and stalled out with the owner and a line of people waiting to get into the club right there. There was also this one time when I was parking a new BMW M6 and it burned out while going in reverse. I didn't mean to, but you have to give it some gas before it even goes because it won't just roll. Well, I gave it some gas but the tires just spun.

VF: If the elections were held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

GT: Probably McCain because I'm Republican. Republicans support small businesses and my dad owns a small business.

VF: Have you seen an impact from the new laws about DUI's?

TG: With DUI's being enforced now, people are taking more taxis, being smart about it and knowing that they're going to get drunk and not going to be able to drive home.

VF: Have you made any changes in your life to be Green?

TG: I recycle and try to turn lights off when they don't need to be on. It might not be much, but I try to use things conservatively.

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