A Kansas woman using a restroom at the circus came face-to-face with a tiger that had escaped briefly after its turn performing in the ring.
"You don't expect to go in a bathroom door, have it shut behind you and see a tiger walking toward you," said Salina resident Jenna Krehbiel.
The big cat got loose Saturday at the Isis Shrine Circus, according to The Associated Press. Staff members blocked off the concourses at the Bicentennial Center in Salina as the tiger wandered into the bathroom, where one of the doors was blockaded.
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About that time, Krehbiel decided she needed to use the restroom. When she walked in the door that hadn't been blocked off, she found the tiger standing about 2 feet away, The Salina Journal reported.
"It was the closest I have ever been to a tiger not in a cage," said Krehbiel, estimating the tiger weighed more than 250 pounds.
Chris Bird, manager at the Bicentennial Center, said the bathroom was only 25 feet long.
"Once she saw the tiger, I'm sure she knew to go the other way," Bird said. "Overall, it was a scary, surreal moment. I am glad no one was hurt or injured."
The tiger was captured within minutes and returned to its enclosure.
Krehbiel, a social worker, said she didn't scream or run because she is trained to stay calm.
"Looking back, it was a scary ordeal," she said. "At the time, I was thinking I just needed to get out."
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Krehbiel said her 3-year-old daughter had a different reaction.
"My daughter wanted to know if it had washed its hands," Krehbiel said. "That was her only concern. I think that shows the thoughts of children and that they wouldn't have known there was danger."
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