Julia Tupy was joking with her friends about what they would do if they saw a bear on their hike in New Jersey. Then their joke became a reality.
The 25-year-old child caretaker says went on a hike at the Stairway to Heaven trail in Vernon Township last Wednesday. It was on the trail's rocky steps where Tupy's friend captured the video of a bear slowly approaching the hikers. After the footage was posted online, Tupy has been dubbed the "calm queen" for how she reacted to the potentially dangerous situation.
"I wanted to panic," Tupy recalled. But she didn't. She and her friends slowly moved away from the curious bear.
The video of the close encounter has been viewed more than 3 million times since it was posted on Sunday.
"If you ask any of my friends, it's off-brand for me," Tupy said. "If you saw me later in the hike, we were walking and a snake was on a tree, nowhere near me, and I freaked out."
Now people recognize her from the viral video. And while Tupy says she's not really "famous," the video of her calmly retreating from a bear in the wild can be a good lesson for people who have seen it.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommends that you remain calm, stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
You can also try to scare the bear away by making loud noises and making yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms.