School Principal Unlocking Dumpster Gets The Surprise Of A Lifetime

“I am sure he was just as startled as I was” 😲

The school week started off a little differently at Zela Elementary in West Virginia. It was there that the school’s principal, James Marsh, got the biggest lesson of all — about what it’s like to come face to face with local wildlife.

It was a lesson Marsh was not expecting.

Zela Elementary School

On Monday morning, Marsh headed to the school’s dumpster with a key in hand. Because the school is situated in a rural area, he’s gotten into the habit of locking it up at night to keep out any animals who might look to forage there.

“I never expected the dumpster to be occupied, because of the lock,” Marsh told The Dodo.

This particular morning, however, Marsh’s expectations were wrong.

James Marsh

There was not a peep emerging from within the dumpster as Marsh pulled aside the lock. Yet, seconds later and without warning, a large animal emerged from the lid — mere inches from the startled principal.

“I am sure he was just as startled as I was,” Marsh said.

Here’s that moment on video:

James Marsh

Sure enough, despite the precautions, a large bear had somehow managed to squeeze under the dumpster’s lid overnight, after which he’d apparently gotten stuck.

“My guess is that he ate a big meal and then took a nap,” Marsh said. “Perhaps he ate too much to squeeze back out.”

Upon meeting, both the bear and school principal were equally startled. Each skedaddled in opposite directions, thankfully unharmed.

James Marsh

It was a heck of a way to start the day — but Marsh took it all in stride.

“I love the outdoors and have lived around wildlife all of my life. Encounters are expected. I just wasn't expecting it to be that close. It is a priceless memory now, and I smile when telling the story,” Marsh said.

The pragmatic principal even managed to make it a teachable moment for his pupils, as well:

“I showed the video to my elementary students, and they thought it was hilarious,” he said. “I did remind them to respect the space and territory of bears.”