One spring break, a college student from Seattle embarked on an extraordinary journey: a Serengeti safari. The group expected to view some wildlife, but of course, at a safe distance.
One cheetah, nevertheless, ended up getting quite near to the group, which led to a tense situation that Britton managed superbly.
When Britton Hayes and his company were on a tour with Grand Ruaha Safari, they stumbled upon three cheetah brothers who were hunting the Gol Kopjes of the Serengeti.
As they came closer to the wild cats, one of the brothers made the dangerous decision that he wanted to get a better look at them for himself.
Hayes told KOMO News: “We started to notice the cheetahs became curious of the vehicle. But it was too late to drive quickly away or anything like that because you don’t want to startle the animals, because that’s when things usually go wrong.”
During the time that Hayes and the other visitors were busy with another cheetah that had leaped on the vehicle’s hood, yet another cheetah hopped right through the window and into the backseat — directly behind Hayes.
He continued by saying, “This is not at all a common occurrence,” although of course, no one really expected it to actually take place.
Hayes’ initial response was, quite understandably, to fear; however, his safari guide was thankfully able to keep both him and the rest of the group calm in the face of the situation.
Another man who was on the excursion, Peter Heistein, documented the whole experience using the camera that was on his smartphone.
Hayes was given instructions by the safari guide to slow down his breathing, avoid making eye contact, and let the cheetah sniff around until he was finished ‘exploring.’ Maintaining composure will demonstrate to the animal that it is safe for them to be trusted.
Hayes made the wise decision to wait until he got home safely before telling his mother, Elisa Jaffe, a news anchor at Seattle’s KOMO news station, about the terrifying experience.
He said: “I was worried that [she] might freak out and would’ve forced me to come home. So I figured it’s best to not have [he]) worry, when there’s not much you can do about it when I’m that far away.”
It would be an understatement to say that Hayes and the company were relieved when the cheetah ultimately made the decision to depart.
Later, as the strain left their bodies, the group chuckled. It was a really close call, and it’s amazing how composed Britton remained during the entire incident.