When attending the 59th Annual Watermelon Festival in Farmerville, Louisiana, River Bandit Rescue owner and wildlife rehabilitator Leslie Green was expecting a perfectly normal day. However, the universe had other plans, which included a whole lot of crushed fruit, forty two very happy animals and a generous store owner. In an interview, Green had this to say: “A produce truck carrying watermelons and cantaloupes was heading to the town square where the festival takes place. It had been raining and the roads were very slippery. The produce truck started sliding and rear-ended a truck hauling a ski boat. The fruit went flying all over the road.”
The fruit truck, owned by Yak’s Produce, was on the way to the festival with a supply of fresh fruit when this fateful accident occurred. Green, who rehabilitates animals such as squirrels, skunks, rabbits, raccoons and more, was also passing by when this happened. Green adds: “I pulled over to see if I could help. After finding out everyone was okay, I asked the driver of the produce truck if I could have the busted watermelon and cantaloupe for the wildlife. He said [he] wanted to make sure it was okay with the owner, who was on the way to the scene of the accident.” Within a few minutes, Anthony Yakaboski, the owner of Yak’s arrived at the scene.
Green went on to say: “He said he would much rather see it go to a good cause than be discarded. I, along with several other people who were at the scene, loaded up the broken fruit into the back of my truck.” In the same interview, Yakaboski had this to say: “Sometimes you have to turn a bad situation into a good one.” The very excited Green was jumping for joy, and couldn’t drive fast enough to take the offerings she had received to her 4-acre property.
Green goes on to add: “I drove home and started dispersing the fresh fruit to all of the wildlife, who were super thankful to have it!” At the rescue, the beavers were the first to attack and enjoy the fresh feast. Seeing their compatriots enjoying fresh fruit, the remaining residents also followed suit. This was only the first of many times that Green will get to treat the animals. She finally says: “I have been in contact with Yak’s and they have pledged to donate more tasty goodies for the wildlife in the future!”