Surprise birthday parties can be a lot of fun, but what happens when the surprise comes in the form of a hungry black bear?
Such was the case for a Mexican family forced to stay extremely still when a bear barged in on an outdoor birthday party and devoured their delicious (delici-oso?) feast of tacos, enchiladas, salsa and french fries.
Silvia Macías of Mexico City was hosting a 15th birthday for her son, Santiago, at a park on the outskirts of Monterrey when the uninvited guest showed up. Without pause, the small black bear jumped up onto the picnic table, inches from the mother and son’s faces.
Thinking quickly, she covered her son’s eyes and cradled his head to help him keep calm as the bear chowed down on the food.
“The worst thing was that Santiago might get scared,” Macías recalled Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press, explaining that her son has Down syndrome and is uncomfortable around animals. “Santiago is very afraid of animals, a cat or a dog, any animal scares him a lot.”
“That’s why I covered his eyes, because I didn’t want him to see it and scream or run. I was afraid that if he got scared or screamed or scared the bear, that the bear would react,” she said of the incident Monday.
Thankfully, party guest Angela Chapa knew the proper behaviour when encountering a black bear: never, ever run.
Instead, she remained calm and filmed the un-bear-ably tense encounter, which she later posted to TikTok.
“The bear was very close to us, we heard him as he growled as he ate. You could smell the bear. It was really very very close,” said Macías.
Cool-headed Chapa was eventually able to coax the unexpected diner away from the area by showing the animal an uneaten enchilada and then flinging it away from the picnic table for the bear to retrieve.
As expected, the animal followed the food and Chapa stood between the bear and Macías and her son, allowing them to retreat quietly and slowly.
Eventually, the bear took off, and Santiago’s birthday feast was replaced.
Macías says she doesn’t consider herself a hero.
“I just think I’m a mother who protected her cub,” she said.
— With files from The Associated Press