FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - An alligator making its way from one retention pond to another decided to use the sidewalk and do a little window shopping through a Flagler Beach strip mall.
Denise Nichols-Gearhardt was working at an upscale consignment and antique store called "Junque in the Trunk" when she spotted the gator.
The company is expanding in the strip mall and Nichols-Gearhardt says she was showing some customers the space they were moving into and looking through the glass when she spotted the alligator's reflection.
Being a native Floridian, she says she knew not to startle it and to get out of its way, so she told the customers to walk calmly into their vehicle or go back into the store. "They got into their vehicle and I went into the store!" said Nichols-Gearhardt.
She began to film the alligator's journey from one side of the strip mall to the other, and called Flagler Beach police for backup. "The alligator, seeing the reflection in the door of America’s Donuts tapped his nose against the door....we joked that he was trying to get a donut!" she said.
There's a retention pond on each side of the strip mall. Nichols-Gearhardt says police helped keep people away as the gator made it safety to the next pond. The gators have done this before, she said, only previously, they used the parking lot.
She said she's lucky she spotted the gator before it made its way into her shop. "I had the door to the store open all day...if I wouldn't have walked outside and saw him he probably would have ended up inside," she said.