Every parent has sat through their fair share of miserable kid birthday parties. Fussy adult guests, overtired toddlers, and a bunch of kids all hopped up on cake and sugar–there are plenty of opportunities for things to go awry.
But think about the worst birthday party you’ve ever attended.
Did everyone come away with their limbs fully intact? Was anyone’s life in mortal danger from being eaten?
If not, then your worst birthday party was 1000 times better than a five-year-old’s birthday party this week at Utah’s Scales and Tails!
On August 14, a private birthday event at the reptile park in Utah devolved into chaos when an alligator, named Darth Gator, attacked its handler. Just a warning, this is a video of the entire event, and may not be suitable for small children.
Trainer Lindsay Bull said she’d fed this particular alligator hundreds of times in the past three and a half years. But on this day, things took a terrible turn.
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In the video of the incident, Ms. Bull can be seen giving Darth Gator the command for “back.” But like you may have come to expect from your average attendee at a kid’s birthday party, Darth Gator wasn’t listening.
Unfortunately, unlike your average party guest, Darth Gator is 8 feet, 5 inches and weighs 150 pounds.
It’s at that point that Darth Gator bit Ms. Bull’s arm. Being the badass she is, Ms. Bull didn’t panic. She assumed the gator would bite and release, but he didn’t.
The alligator began thrashing about and Ms. Bull worried her arm would be severed or worse. When interviewed after the attack, she said,
“You have two choices. You can either stay out and he’s gonna rip your arm off or you go in and there’s a chance you can keep it.”
So she did what most of us would deem unthinkable–she (somewhat) voluntarily crawled INTO the water with the alligator.
At that point, another badass and genuine hero, party guest Donnie Wiseman, jumped in to help. In the understatement of the century, Mr. Wiseman first called out,
“HEY, WE GOT TROUBLE!”
Then he selflessly leapt into the enclosure and onto the alligator’s back, wrestling it into a temporary freeze.
You can hear people screaming in horror in the background (or maybe those are just my screams as I watch the incredible video. . .). You can also see adults frantically pulling children down from the viewing glass.
With the alligator temporarily still, Mr. Wiseman and Ms. Bull calmly introduced themselves. They exchanged names the way you might as you casually pass someone at the park—you know, a regular park where people play, not an alligator park where people are potentially on the menu.
After nearly a full minute, the alligator released Ms. Bull’s arm and another guest was able to pull her to safety. But that still left Mr. Wiseman in the tank with the alligator. Mr. Wiseman, in an interview afterward, explained,
“I thought to myself, you know, once I get her free, I’ve got him by the neck, he shouldn’t be able to get me, right?”
Incredibly, Ms. Bull still had the presence of mind to calmly explain to Mr. Wiseman how he could get out of the tank. Even more incredibly, Mr. Wiseman was able to follow those instructions and get himself to safety.
I can’t help but marvel at the strength of everyone involved in this harrowing incident.
You know when Donnie Wiseman got up that morning, he was expecting to drag his kid to another run-of-the-mill birthday party. In fact, he admits they almost didn’t even go.
He definitely wasn’t expecting to spend the afternoon battling an alligator to save a life.
So hats off to this hero dad for his quick thinking and courageous actions!
When Lindsay Bull went to work, she surely didn’t expect to fight for her life with an alligator she’d spent countless hours with over the years.
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And of course, the party guests, including off-duty nurse Amy Christopher, didn’t expect to administer critical first aid while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
Incredibly, Donnie Wiseman’s wife, Theresa Wiseman, filmed the entire encounter without screaming, crying, and completely losing her sh*t so the rest of the world could witness such bravery and selflessness firsthand.
Thankfully, Ms. Bull is expected to make a full recovery, including complete use of her arm. We wish her all the best as she heals from this terrifying event.
Somewhat shockingly, Ms. Bull is also excited to return to work–including working with Darth Gator, the very alligator that attacked her. When asked, she said,
“I can’t wait to get back in and hang out with my buddy again,”
Umm . . . what?! Back in?! “My buddy”?!?!?!
All I can say to that is . . . May the Force be with her.