It Happened Tonight! Be Ready...


forum moderator / t11
Sep 14, 2008
Louisville, OH
So, you are all packed, dressed, props ready to go and you leave your house in plenty of time. Your gig is only 25-30 minutes away and so you leave 50 minutes early knowing that you should be fine.....and then it happens. crash in the middle of a 3 lane highway and it is the ONLY way you can get to your gig.
That my friends, happened tonight as I was heading to my gig that was supposed to begin at 6:30 PM. There was an accident blocking all lanes of traffic for a good half hour. Needless to say I frantically called the Winery that I was working at and talked to the manager to let him know that I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and would not make my 6:30 start time. Yikes....I felt horrible, but literally there was nothing I could do. I arrived at 7:00, used the restroom and found out that I was needed right away at an upstairs table of unhappy guests whose food was taking too long and they were getting pissed off.

So...da da comes Super Rick to try and save the day. I took 3 deep breaths before approaching the table and went over and smiled and introduced myself. I proceeded to entertain them for 20 minutes solid and received clapping, cheering, and a $7.00 tip from the main man at the table. He also asked for a business card and said he would be in contact soon for a Christmas gig. I felt bad that there food had yet to arrive but definitely went out of my way to brighten the mood the best I could.

For the next two hours I was destroying people and getting good tips and compliments. These were mainly upper scale people in their 40's and 50's who liked to spend money so that was a bonus. I actually met a man who was a retired magician. His wife was mad that as soon as I approached his table he mentions that he used to do magic. He then proceeds to take out a half dollar and do some very nice coin vanishes as his wife looks annoyingly at him and says, "I told you not to do that." Ha Ha. I kind of got a good laugh out of it.

Then came a mistake. After two hours I decided to try an effect that I hadn't done in awhile and was feeling cocky and screwed it up with no out what so ever. I basically had to humbly apologize for messing it up and set the effect aside. I was a bit embarrassed to say the least and it once again proved not to "get so high on ones horse" because you are going to mess up at some point and be brought back to reality. Lesson learned.

At the end of the night I was treated nicely to a sit down meal and received my check for the desired amount. Now I could have worked from 7:00-9:00 (original time was supposed to be 6:30-8:30)and ran out of there, but because I was late I took it upon myself to stay an extra half hour on top of the regular scheduled 2 hours shift to try and make up for it.

Over all it was a great night and it sounded like they were going to use me again at some point.

I guess I just wanted to share this experience with some of you guys so you can learn a little bit. Was there anything I could have done about the car accident? Nope...I was basically a victim of bad luck. I made sure to apologize on the phone before arriving and apologized at the end of the evening while also giving the extra half hour. I hope in management's eyes I went above and beyond what was expected.

Has anyone else ever been in a situation like this?
Nov 27, 2010
Nope...never happened to me, but I totally enjoyed reading that. Haha I could Imagine how happy the owner was when you came in as the hero, entertaining his angry customers. I feel like you are going to have many future gigs in that place. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

Casey Rudd

Social Director // theory11 interactive
Staff member
Jun 5, 2009
Charleston, SC
Thanks for sharing that Rick! I've had instances where I got "too high on my horse" at the start of doing magic, and try to do difficult effects hoping to get more reactions. Most of the time I would end up messing up, but that's taught me to not do it again, and I think it's very important to learn early on. You handled that situation flawlessly, and I'm sure that place will be wanting more of you!
Aug 31, 2007
Long Island/New York
Sounds like you handled that situation professionally. Unfortunate things like this happen every now and then and are sometimes unavoidable. After apologizing, there's nothing more you can do but move forward from it and hope they know you we're sincere.

20 minutes of magic at 1 table? Wow! That's longer than any table I've done when strolling. I usually do 3 tricks and then I'm on to the next one. Nice work!
Jan 8, 2010
That's what a contract is for, to cover you against unforeseeable circumstances that are out of your control. That being said, I agree that staying and making that extra effort is important if you don't have another gig to get to. Tonight my last gig finished at 22.00 but I stayed to entertain two more groups for about 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes and my determination to please all of my clients guests could be a deciding factor in whether they choose me for an event over another magician.


forum moderator / t11
Sep 14, 2008
Louisville, OH
Thanks for the kind words fellas. Formula, you are correct. I do use a contract but in this instance it was a last minute gig because I had to cover for the main house magician who bailed to go to a lecture. I like your theory, always go above what is expected and stay that little bit extra because that COULD be the deciding factor for future business. Well said.

Danny, yes, I normally only do 3 effects at a table and move on, but this was a table that I was told to go make happy by the management because their food would not be ready yet and they had all ready been waiting too long. So I took it upon myself to try and keep them entertained....ha ha.

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
I think that you did the right thing...there are some things we cannot be prepared least you showed up, which is great instead of giving up and not going...

About the restaurarnt...what kind of food do they serve to take more that 20 minutes to make? did they went to fish the food to the ocean? what did it take so long? anyway... you are a professional my friend!!

I love how you always get dinner at the end...very nice extra!! or do you ask for that in the contract?
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