A California 7-Eleven clerk has likely encountered many patrons coming into the convenience store for a beer run, but when the door chimed to indicate a customer was present, she never expected to look up and see a bear. The woman immediately became frantic as the large animal began making its way inside — and it was all caught on video.
Rachelle Ducusin was working a shift at a 7-Eleven store in Olympic Valley, California, near Lake Tahoe on a Saturday night when the shop became the scene of a very unusual occurrence after a wild bear decided to pay the place a visit. As seen in video footage captured inside the convenience store, the animal casually strolled inside after opening the door, but the wild encounter didn’t start there.
According to Rachelle, she first spotted the bear outside the store, where the animal charged at her twice as she tried to get it away from the garbage cans, the Daily Mail reported. The employee called 911, but before authorities could respond, the animal made its way to the front entrance of the store, opened the shop door, and wandered inside, much to Rachelle’s dismay.
As seen and heard in the clip, the shop assistant became frantic, screaming for the bear to get out as it stood in the doorway, holding open the door. Rather than obey Rachelle Ducusin’s commands, however, the animal ignored the woman’s increasingly frantic screams, choosing to instead poke its nose even further inside the store, making the shop assistant all the more distraught and obviously fearful.
“Oh my goodness,” Rachelle is heard saying after the door opens and she sees the bear, but as she begins to add, “he knows how to open…” she cuts off and instead starts screaming, “Hey! Stop!” as the animal takes its first step inside. Undeterred by the woman’s cries, telling the beast to “get out,” the bear takes a sniff around, inadvertently activating the hand sanitizing machine, which dispenses a glob of liquid.
Again, the bear is seemingly unfazed and appears much more interested in what’s in a nearby freezer. Even as the woman gets louder, screaming for him to leave, the bear stands on its two feet and continues to peruse the shop. While holding open the door, the animal leans on the freezer and peers inside as Rachelle Ducusin yells out repeatedly.
The woman’s cries finally capture the animal’s attention, and the bear looks towards the screaming employee. The video ends shortly thereafter. For those wondering what happened next, Daily Mail reported that the bear fled when emergency services responded to the woman’s earlier 911 call and shot at the animal with rubber bullets.
Of course, social media users had a field day with the footage. “At least he sanitized. Twice,” one amused commenter wrote while another added, “He just needs his bare necessities.” Yet another joked, “The bear literally came in politely, held the door and sanitized. What more do you want?” And another comically added, “That’s why I don’t go to 7 Eleven late at night, that’s when the trouble makers are there.”
While the video footage is amusing to watch, it does indicate a serious problem California has been facing. The state’s black bear population has reportedly grown in the past few decades. Making matters worse, the area has been badly affected by wildfires in recent years, forcing human inhabitants to evacuate, giving bears free range in some communities while also destroying the habitat for much of the area’s wildlife.
As a result, residents of Lake Tahoe reported that bear activity was at a historic high with pictures and video footage often capturing black bears boldly walking along streets, rifling through trashcans for food, and even climbing up trees to raid them for apples. Bears that frequently enter areas where humans live will occasionally be tagged by park rangers with a yellow tag, which this bear had on its right ear, meaning this guy was no stranger to humans. While this might not seem so bad, not all encounters are “peaceful.”
In fact, the month prior to this dramatic 7-Eleven footage, a 66-year-old Tahoe Vista woman was attacked. Laurel-Rose Von Hoffmann-Curzi reportedly heard a loud noise and went to investigate, only to discover an unwelcomed black bear rifling through her freezer. The bear lunged at Hoffmann-Curzi, who said she was “incredibly lucky” to be alive although she needed dozens of stitches. So, while we all got a good laugh as Rachelle Ducusin cried frantically after the bear entered the 7-Eleven, she had every right to be afraid. Thankfully, this story had an entertaining ending, rather than a tragic one.