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Airport Parking Valet Takes Woman’s Car Because It’s “Cheaper Than Uber”

One airport parking valet thought he’d come up with a clever way of getting around while his car was in the shop for repairs: use the vehicle of one of his customers because she was out of town and would never find out.
Valet takes woman's Toyota 4Runner for personal use because stealing is "cheaper than Uber" 6 photos
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The hole in the plan was the unexpected situation caused by the bad weather: Joyce Johnson tells NBC affiliate WISTV that she flew out of Columbia for New Orleans, but had to cut her trip short by one day because of the floods. She had left her 2008 Toyota 4Runner at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, with Republic Parking, and was shocked to find it was gone when she landed.

The people at the airport parking company had no idea where the car was, and Johnson spent about 4 hours with them, looking for it in every lot. They eventually called the valet who had parked it and he said it was there – they’d just have to wait for him to arrive and he would take them to it.

As it turns out, the valet, identified as Shaquvis Marquise Darnell Dev Smith, had left his keys on the wall and taken Johnson’s. He didn’t need his anymore because his car was broken down and, since he didn’t have a means to get by, he thought he could take Johnson’s car and no one would know as long as he brought it back before she landed.

He also told the court at his bond hearing on Monday that taking a client’s car was “cheaper than Uber.” He was still charged with using a vehicle without permission and was released on a $8,000 personal recognizance bond.

As Johnson and the police waited at Republic Parking, Smith was seen bringing back the SUV. He was arrested on the spot.

Johnson says she’s going public with the story because she feels “violated” by this breach of trust and because she doesn’t want anyone else to go through the same experience. “Where I left it in the valet company's trust that you would take care of my personal property,” Johnson says for the same media outlet, “and your employee decided he would do something else. Instead of parking my car, he drove off in it.”

Republic Parking has apologized to her and promised it will never happen again.


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