A 9-year-old boy riding his bike…on a hot Florida day…near the cool waters of a lake.
Can you blame James Barney for jumping in when the mood captured him?
Although that wasn’t the only thing to grab hold of the boy in that moment.
“He was swimming, and we were just sitting up here, and we heard him screaming, and then we didn’t know what happened, so we decided to go over there and there was a big alligator at least 5 feet away from him,” a 911 caller said, WESH-TV in Orlando reported.
“It really amazed me what happened,” Barney recalled to the station. “At first I just thought someone was playing with me.”
Hardly. Not unless his friends are about 9 feet long and weigh 400 pounds, ABC News reported.
“I felt its jaw. I felt its teeth, and I didn’t know what to do,” Barney told WESH, “so I immediately reacted and hit it a couple times, so then it was letting go a little, and then finally, I had enough strength to pry its jaw open a little.”
Somehow the kid escaped the alligator’s powerful jaws — but not before he was bitten several times during Thursday’s incident in Lake Tohopekaliga in St. Cloud.
After Barney was flown to a hospital, doctors discovered 30 teeth marks, for which they gave him antibiotics and a pressure wash, WESH noted.
But that wasn’t the end. Turns out the alligator left behind a souvenir of sorts — a tooth stuck in Barney’s back.
And Barney wanted it.
“I want to put it on a necklace so that I can tell all my friends,” he said, according to ABC News.
A St. Cloud official added that Barney was swimming in an area that is off limits to swimmers.
But would he ever go back in, even if the ban is lifted?
Easy answer: “Negative,” he told WESH.