Man Rationalizes With Bear During Wilderness Encounter: ‘I’m not your food’
A jogger enjoying a run at Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park narrowly escaped a grisly encounter earlier this month after a bear crossed his path, a nervewracking encounter caught on tape. Yet instead of employing his can of bear spray, as many terrified runners would likely do in this situation, Matthews stayed cool, deciding to talk out his differences with his massive, four-legged friend. Hey!" Matthews yelled at the bear, spray bottle in hand. “Stay back! No!" the runner continued. "I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food.”
Even after his stern talking to, the bear refused to paw-se in his pursuit, continuing forward. “Sure, we could take a walk if you want," Matthews said in what may be the calmest ever response to one discovering a bear in their midst. "You don’t get any closer, though.”
Although according to The National Park Service, the best ways to evade a bear is to play dead when faced with Brown or Grizzly bears, or run to safety if you find yourself in the path of a Black bear (do not play dead with this guy unless you want to meet a fate as a delicious, protein-filled snack) Matthews says he continued to correspond with the bear "to show that I was a Human and not to be mistaken for another animal."
“If I had, the bear could have thought of me as prey and chased me down,” he explained, per Newsweek. “Being that I am not prey, I stood my ground when it charged (showing it that I'm not a prey animal) then backed away slowly.” While as the publication noted, bear attacks are relatively rare, Matthews said he thought the creature was "fresh out of the den" and on the hunt for some good grub. "I've seen plenty of bears in the wild, but this was the first time one had shown any interest in me. He must have been extra hungry," he added.
So mystery bear, if you're reading this, kudos to you for handling the situation maturely -- to paraphrase Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, runners are friends, not food.