So you’ve got a tiger loose in your local abandoned auto plant. Who you gonna call? Detroit area bus driver Andy Didorosi, obviously. He’s my buddy, I just called and had him walk me through what happened.
“So it’s this British photographer David Yarrow doing a fashion shoot in the Packard Plant,” explains Andy. “This big, abandoned factory. He had naked models and shit. And the tiger got away. The tiger got into a staircase and was terrified on like the 4th story.”
As you can see, Andy is an experienced animal handler. Here he shows my puppy who’s boss during a visit two years ago.
Andy, 28, was an intern at Jalopnik before launching The Detroit Bus Company, which fulfills a huge transportation need in Detroit, driving drunk kids around bars at night then using that money to give the city’s less fortunate residents free rides to work during the day. Andy also rescues pit bulls, flips cheap real estate, organizes a local motorcycle/go kart/moped/bicycle race and is just generally a positive force in Detroit’s slow going rehabilitation as a city fit for human life. Actually, he’s as close to a local hero as the city has and, if I had a tiger problem, he’d probably be the first person I’d call for help too.
“My buddy who’s working the shoot calls up and is like, ‘Man, you got a leaf blower?’ No, but I do have a weed whip, so I came over with that and a few other tools,” continues Andy. “I thought it was going to be like no big deal, I’d drop the tools off and the handlers would handle it. Then they told me to walk down this way and I turned a corner and he’s like eight feet away!”
At this point, Andy pulled his phone out and started filming.
“The handler was like, ‘I need you to put this tarp over you and make animal sounds and try and scare him down the stairs.’ So we’re like, ‘Ok, cool,’ still thinking it’s going to be a tame animal. But he was not having that shit. That tiger was on his own fucking agenda.”
“You can see in the video — until my battery cuts out — that I was holding the tarp, just fucking shaking, and my buddy’s like, ‘Come on, let’s go, let’s go!’”
“We did that tarp, that didn’t work. So then we tried a battery-powered hedge trimmer, because that’s kinda loud. That didn’t work. And then we went down with a weed whip, the loudest thing we’ve got, and the tiger swiped at it! That didn’t work. I was scared shitless.”
“The handler told us to retreat because the tiger was getting angry, so we backed away real slow. Then they got it back in the truck somehow, I think they tranq’d it.”
“It’s this company out of Montana, Animals of Montana or something,” Andy tells us. That company advertises a Siberian tiger named “Texaco,” on its website, saying the animal weighs 660lbs and measures nearly 11 feet in length. Here’s a picture of Texaco.
The company says the tiger, “…will amaze you with his well behaved manner.” And that, “He is trained to run right at you, giving you incredible one of a kind photo’s [sic]…”
I called Animals of Montana to confirm and spoke with head trainer Dimitri Price who says, “There was no incident, this is a perfect example of social media out of control. We led the animal through a stairway to give it an opportunity to calm down. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beauty of Detroit.”
Andy speculates and the Free Press confirms that neither the Packard Plant nor the city were aware of the tiger’s presence. “They put this whole thing together and didn’t ask anyone,” complains Andy. “He had a fucking bobcat there too.”
“But yeah, good Monday,” Andy concludes.
IndefinitelyWild is a new publication about adventure travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there and the people we meet along the way. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.