Getting the Trailer Stuck in a Parking Garage


Jason Michaels CardShark FaceCardOriginally published February 2009.

So here’s a funny story.  (Well, it’s funny now.  It wasn’t that funny at the time.)  The date was Thursday, March 27th, 2008.  My crew and I were performing a show at The University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  We arrived in the afternoon, towing our trailer full of illusions and show props, and squeezed our way onto the upper deck of a parking structure so we could load our equipment directly into the venue.  I set off to perform some strolling magic, to help draw a crowd for the show, while Scott set everything up.

When show time arrived, we had a good sized, fun-loving group.  The show went great and we enjoyed meeting lots of excited folks afterwards.  Next, we packed the show up and loaded it all back in the trailer.  We said our goodbyes and started down the ramp to exit the parking structure.  Right as I settled in and started looking forward to a nice dinner, I heard my tour manager Scott (who was driving, by the way) say, “Man this is going to be tight.”  Right as he said that I felt the truck and the trailer go up onto the curb.  Then Scott stopped completely.  Not good.

We got out of the truck to see just how close we were to making it out of there when we realized that the trailer was sort of cock-eyed and wasn’t going to make it.  Somehow we had to back it up and straighten it out.  Scott got back in the truck and started to back it up when the trailer started turning the other way.  Now this was really not good.  So I had him try to straighten it out again.  As we tried to fix the problem, the trailer was getting more and more lodged into the exit of the parking structure.  Pretty soon its wheel well was scrapping against the concrete wall on one side and the other side of the trailer was about three inches from backing into the guard house that separated the entrance from the exit of the parking structure.  We were officially stuck!

To make matters worse, suddenly the low fuel light in the truck turns on.  Now please understand this, I have traveled all over the place and dealt with all kinds of crazy problems, but as Scott and I stood looking at the trailer I realized there was no way out of there.  Somehow we had lodged this trailer in there and it wasn’t coming out.  I turned to Scott and said, “The only way out of here is if we get an engineer to figure this out.”  Scott had no solution either.  Fantastic!  It was getting late, I was getting hangry and we had no idea how to get this trailer out of there.

When we had completely lost all hope, the girls went to an on-campus call box and called the police.  I was so looking forward to trying to explain this!  A few minutes later two officers showed up with perplexed looks on their faces.  It was priceless.  One of the guys looks at me and says, “You guys ARE stuck.”  No kidding.

The only idea we all had was to unlatch the trailer from the truck and attempt to manually straighten it out.  I was a little worried it would roll down the incline and crush us all, but the cop didn’t think it would move.  So that’s what we did.  We unlatched the trailer and the bigger of the two officers and I muscled the trailer about 30 degrees to line it back up with the exit.  Suddenly, we were home free!  I couldn’t believe it.  We hitched the trailer back up to the truck and Scott pulled it forward.  Wow!  What an adventure.  We thanked the officers and headed to a restaurant.  Food never tasted so good!


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