Massive Alligator Chased Customers Through Wendy's Parking Lot in Florida
If you go to Wendy's to grab lunch, you don't expect to contend with anything more harrowing than a longer-than-average line at the drive-thru window, or not getting enough ketchup to accompany your order. What you don't anticipate—even on the most Monday of all Mondays—is having to call the authorities because you had to escape from a massive alligator in the parking lot.
That was the situation that several Wendy's customers in Lehigh Acres, Florida found themselves in on Monday afternoon. According to the Lee County Sheriff's Department, the gator "chased pedestrians through a Wendy's parking lot" before deputies were called to the scene. "He may have just been 'hangry' for a cheeseburger, but he gave many quite the scare," the Sheriff's Department tweeted. "Alongside [the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission] we wrangled the gator and safely relocated it."
According to WFLA, the cops and a "nuisance alligator trapper" from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) eventually caught up to and trapped the alligator across the street from the Wendy's, in the parking lot for the Lehigh Acres Health and Rehabilitation Center. The alligator was measured at a robust (read: terrifying) 7 feet, 3 inches in length.
A spokesperson for the FWC told the outlet that the alligator was probably trying to get from one body of water to another, and decided that the shortest distance was by cutting through the Wendy's lot, and scaring the spicy nuggets off a couple of customers in the process. The alligator has since been taken to an alligator farm.
The last time the words "police," "alligator," and "Wendy's" were all in the same sentence might've been in February 2016, when a 23-year-old Florida man was arrested for throwing a live alligator through the drive-thru window at a Wendy's restaurant in Loxahatchee. Joshua Douglas James later told officers that he picked the alligator up on the side of the road and kept it in his pickup truck until he decided to launch it towards the Wendy's worker who'd just given him his order. FWC officials were able to collect the alligator inside the restaurant and it was released into a nearby canal.
After the most recent Wendy's incident, the FWC reminded Floridians (or visitors to the state) to call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR if they see any concerning alligators, and a licensed alligator trapper will be sent to handle the situation. Hopefully, after the caller has safely consumed their 4-for-$4 order.