Step out for a fancy dinner in Dallas, and chances are you’ll be greeted curbside at the restaurant by a valet. It is a lovely, if often overlooked, convenience. For hospitals like Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Waxahachie, though, valet parking is more than a convenience. It is a near necessity for some patients and sets the tone for everyone who walks through the hospital’s doors.

“We want to make sure when patients and families arrive, that they have a great first impression,” says Keith Nichols, MHA, Director of Hospital Operations for Baylor Scott & White — Waxahachie.

The person charged with creating that first impression is Todd Dunlap, who first joined the medical center’s team when Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie launched its complimentary valet parking program six months ago. Dunlap has quickly gained a reputation for being someone who does far more than park cars.

Dunlap makes it a point to help visitors find their way on campus, runs down wheelchairs for those with difficulty walking and generally makes it as seamless as possible to assist people in whatever way they need. He’s even been known to get cars for people leaving the hospital who didn’t use the valet service.

“Everyone who is coming to the hospital is going through something or is visiting someone who is going through something,” Dunlap said. “I’ve been through tough times in my life, so I’m just trying to be that light that is there for them and help them in any way I can.”

Nichols says that since coming aboard at Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie, Dunlap has been lauded and recognized in numerous letters of appreciation from patients and families. The hospital’s access services team, which handles patient arrival and registration, also has come to appreciate what an invaluable asset he has become in providing an exceptional hospital experience.

“He truly has a passion for what he does and a servant’s heart,” Nichols said.

For some patients, like those undergoing joint replacement, the service he provides is critical to easing the burden of making it to the hospital for their appointments. For others, he makes a trip to the hospital a much more positive experience from start to finish.

“I'm thinking of myself as an extension of the great services the hospital already has,” explained Dunlap. “I know I am often the first person and the last person a patient or visitor sees at the hospital, so I have the power to make a real impression.”

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Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers, Baylor Health Care System, Scott & White Healthcare or Baylor Scott & White Health.