A zookeeper recently caused a big stink on Reddit when she refused to pull over when the cheetahs she was transporting made a mess in the back of her van. Let’s just say her coworkers had a violent reaction. This is the full story.
They Were Relocating a Pair of Cheetahs
OP has been a zookeeper for 11 years. She recently received a call informing her that her zoo had acquired two cheetahs from another facility located four hours away.
So OP gathered a couple of other zookeepers, a man with a lot of experience and a woman who was relatively new to the scene.
The three of them set off in their transport van to pick up the cheetahs at around 2 pm and arrived at the other zoo about 6 pm.
The male zookeeper asked OP if they should wait for the cheetahs to relieve themselves before they loaded up to head back.
And the Van Stank!
But OP said the van already stunk, and since the trip was so long, they’d probably go again along the way, anyway.
OP also didn’t want to delay their return home any longer since they were already going to be out really late.
So the three zookeepers loaded up the van and set off for home. OP drove, while the woman zookeeper rode shotgun. The third zookeeper, the man, rode in the back to watch over the cheetahs in their crates.
The woman sitting up front complained about the smell as soon as they got back in the van, but OP convinced her their best bet was to just get home as quickly as possible.
There Wasn’t Much They Could Do With Wild Animals on Board
There wasn’t much they could do to make the stench go away while they were on the road.
Then, about three hours into the drive, the male zookeeper called out from the back that one of the cheetahs had relieved himself. OP didn’t smell it at first, but the powerful feces odor hit her nose soon enough.
To make matters worse, the cheetah was an unneutered male, and he also sprayed in his crate. OP’s front seat passenger begged her to pull over, saying she was going to be sick.
OP wanted to keep going, but then the male zookeeper started to complain about the smell, too.
They Were All Nauseous
OP felt like she had to pull over if she wanted her colleagues to have any chance of making it back home without vomiting and making the situation even worse.
So OP pulled into a gas station to clean the crate, but it was too late. The woman riding shotgun threw up in the front seat.
The young woman stepped away from the van for some fresh air while OP and the male zookeeper went about cleaning the crate and the vomit. Then OP gave the all-clear, and the three of them piled back into the van.
But right away, the woman zookeeper complained that the stench was still overpowering. She wanted OP to wait an hour or so to let the van air out.
She Told Them She’d Push on Home
OP agreed that the smell was still terrible, but she really wanted to get home. Waiting another hour would make their trip unbearably long.
So OP told the others that they were going to push on, and they did. The other woman was miserable the whole way home, and she has been standoffish with OP in the days since.
OP is not the young woman’s supervisor, so she doesn’t feel like it’s her place to try and talk through the situation with her.
The male zookeeper, meanwhile, told OP she pushed too hard and was insensitive to the “rookie” who hadn’t yet developed the stomach for such conditions.
Surely Enduring Smells Is Part of a Zookeepers Job?
Redditors support OP for the most part and think that enduring terrible smells must just be part of the job of being a zookeeper.
Some wonder if she introduced unnecessary risk to the transport operation to stop at a gas station to clean the cheetahs’ cages.
A few even think that the young female zookeeper should look for another career if she can’t handle the demands of the job. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, though, since she is still getting used to her work environment.
So, what do you think of this story? Was OP harsh and insensitive for forcing her colleagues to ride in a stench-filled van for hours?
Or is it all just part of the job that the other zookeepers will have to get used to sooner or later?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / 9nong. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.