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This Hungry Bear Surprised Customers on a Restaurant's Patio, Then Ate Their Pizza

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As a human, it's tough to resist the urge to help yourself to a delicious pizza sitting right in front of you. As a bear, it's... also apparently very difficult to resist said urge. That's at least what one restaurant recently discovered when a black bear cub boldly found its way onto their outdoor patio and not only surprised unsuspecting diners there, but proceeded to devour their pizza.

The exceptionally hairy, uninvited dinner guest showed up last week at Howard's Steakhouse in Gatlinburg, Tennessee just as a group of diners were digging into their food, which included a pizza. Then, out of the trees appeared a black bear cub, who climbed up a tree from the creek below and started casing the joint. 

As you might imagine, the customers fled in fear, but that didn't stop waitress Carolyn Ball from snapping a few pics of the bear feasting on the newfound grub.

Ball said she let the cub finish the pizza because she understandably didn't want to, ya' know, interrupt a bear while it's chowing down, but that she later shooed it away with a chair. The patio was also closed for a couple of days, so the bear could be trapped (and released elsewhere) by authorities.

"I let it finish the pizza because I don't want to mess with a bear when it is eating," she told local NBC affiliate WBIR. "I don't want to be attacked or eaten myself. At that point, it was already on the table eating the pizza, so just let it finish and then ran it off."

However, not everyone was enthused by her immediate reaction. After she posted the photos to Facebook, some commented that she should have scared it away immediately so that it learned approaching humans with food is not OK. Otherwise, some argued, it will eventually lose the fear of people and end up getting killed for coming too close to them. 

Apparently, it's a very bad for the good of a bear to be fed by humans, according to biologist Dan Gibbs of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, who also spoke to WBIR.

"The first thing [people] need to be doing is trying to make as much noise as possible to deter that bear from coming up up in there," he said. "You need to make it a negative experience and try to scare the bear away." 

And while it's easy to understand why people think bears and people shouldn't be dining together, it's also tough not to believe that a good many of the hirsute creatures are actually just very, very chill, and enjoy many of the same good things in life as we do, like pizza and margaritas

h/tWBIR

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.