For six hours, and sometimes longer, Cliff Minter drives and parks cars for hundreds of shopping center visitors, helming the Westfield Culver City valet stand from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It was a long road that brought him to park cars for the shopping behemoth—beginning as a podiatric surgeon, then transitioning to a motivational speaker, Minter eventually decided to help his son-in-law build up his parking company. Westfield Culver City is just one of Minter's many accounts,
The 64-year-old valet attendant and Marina del Rey resident caught up with One Square Mile reporter Christine Trang to discuss his former careers, his family's business and late-night crowds at Westfield Culver City.
Culver City Patch: Describe what it was like to be a national and international speaker.
Cliff Minter: I spoke to some fairly large crowds. Usually, they were crowds between 5,000 to 20,000, some in coliseums in almost every state of the union, and the others in six different foreign countries. I taught people how to be better—whether they wanted to be better athletes, mothers, fathers, musicians, business people or individuals. I helped people develop character, and communication and people skills.
Most people have poor self-images. They don't believe in themselves, regardless of what they say. They don't realize that 95 percent of everything you do has to do with your attitude.
To me, it was very rewarding because of the e-mails I received. People would come up to me afterward, and some would say, 'My God, my life has been changed because I'm applying the principles, and it makes a huge difference.'
Patch: Do you prefer working during the day or at night? Why?
Minter: I like working at night better because I can play all day. I was a professional racquetball player, and I am a nationally ranked tennis player now. I play tennis all day at Venice Beach. And when it is not the holidays, I only work from about 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. But when it is the holidays, I work all hours because I help manage the traffic control.
Patch: Describe one event you remember most about your job as a valet attendant.
Minter: I have one story that was heart touching. There was a lady and man, and they were a little older, maybe in their 70s. They were having a little bit of a hard time. They were handicapped, so I walked over to help. They tried to pay me, so I said, 'No, I'm just here to help you.' I helped, they disappeared into the mall, and they came back about an hour later.
The woman came back, went into her car, got out of her car and came up to me with this book. She signed it, and she said, 'Here, this is for you.' She wrote the book. It was the most beautiful love story, a fantasy love story, and it was a heart-touching book. She had pictures in it. She was the artist and everything, and she dedicated it to me, just because a human being decided to help her with no gain.
Patch: Tell me what you like most about your job.
Minter: I have always been a people person. I just like dealing with people. I love helping people, which motivates me more than anything.
After Hours is a collaborative multimedia project examining the lives of everyday people who work in service jobs after dark in the Fox Hills area of Culver City.