During my days in the advertising business, I organized promotional events such as Christmas parades with a six-pony team pulling Santa’s sleigh, carnivals and circuses with exotic animals and birds including lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and elephants.
One day, I was on the telephone with a client discussing a theme for an upcoming sale event, when suddenly we heard my receptionist scream, then my office door burst open and in romped a baby lion. Behind him was one of his handlers attempting to corner the beast, while the other handler was trying unsuccessfully to convince the receptionist that she was in no danger.
The handler/owners were associates whom I often hired to provide animals for my more bizarre promotions.
The lion was just a baby, but a five-month-old lion cub is no little kitty, although he played like a kitten, swatting and leaping upon anything that moved. He was about the size of a very overweight Retriever. When he dove under my settee after a ball and stood to return with his prize, he dragged the sofa with him.
The client demanded an explanation of the interruption, but could not believe my color commentary of the events in the office until he heard the kitten’s ‘mighty roar’. Then he insisted that I bring my visitors and their pet to his automobile dealership, and come up with a jungle theme for the sale event where we could feature the little beast.
Sensing another job for their animals, my friends happily accepted his invitation, and we piled into my car. I drove, one handler sat in the passenger’s seat and the little Leo was in the back seat with the other handler.
I was traveling southbound on a very busy city street. As I approached an intersection, the traffic light turned green, so I proceeded on through; however, a northbound driver sped up to make a left turn directly in front of me. I was forced to slam on the brakes and spin the wheel to the left in order to avoid a collision.
The action was irresistible to the playful lion cub. He leaped from the back seat, wrapped his forepaws around my neck and commenced to chew on my hair, and forcing my head forward onto the steering wheel.
The squeal of the brakes and the swerving car drew the attention of pedestrians who were aghast to witness a sight seldom seen in the middle of a city -a car careening out of control with a lion attacking the driver.
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