“Yes it was a terrifying ordeal,” said Espirit, when asked about the last three weeks. “I had my bags packed and was ready for the big move up north and I waited and waited, but Kristi – she was my driver – never showed up.”
While Espirit waited on a corner in Bay City for his ride, he was kidnapped by some fishermen from Peru. The date was Feb. 10. He spent a perilous three weeks plotting his escape and eventual arrival in Lansing at 6105 W. St. Joe Hwy. During this time he endured atrocities the average person would shudder to even think possible.
“First they teased me about not being able to fly – it’s a well-known fact that penguins of my kind can’t fly – but that’s no reason to be mean,” said Espirit. “We’re like everybody else; we just want to get a long, be loved and eat some krill.”
Espirit got the break he was looking for when the kidnappers stopped at Jimmy John’s for a No. 15 – the Club Tuna – and some Thinny Chips. Knowing it was his only chance for freedom, he flopped out of the Impala the kidnappers were driving and waddled as fast as he could to the Admiral gas station across the street.
“I really thought the Admiral station was owned by Admiral Byrd. You know the dude who explored the South Pole? Well, I thought if anyone could help me it would be him,” he said.
As luck would have it, the 20-something kid behind the counter with the smart phone in his hand had never heard of Admiral Byrd, but did take the time to Google him. First, however, he just wanted to take a pictures of Espirit, after all his quite photogenic.
“It took some convincing to get him to understand I was in real danger,” said Espirit, his wings flapping in frustration as he recounted the story.
“I hadn’t eaten anything but Swedish fish for 20 days – I kid you not – that’s all they gave me. That and almond milk! Almond! Milk! Who eats like that for three weeks!?”
Eventually Espirit was able to get his story heard and the youth did contact authorities. Thinking that his troubles were soon ending, Espirit started to relax… that is until the DNR showed up with dart guns to put him to sleep so he wouldn’t endanger anyone.
“Can you believe that? I was the victim and they wanted to dart me,” Espirit said. “I’m a lover not a fighter. Unbelievable!”
Espirit was reunited with Kristi – the very same Kristi who started his whole ordeal by forgetting to pick him up – and she spent several days apologizing and cooking various seafood dishes to get back in his good graces. Finally, in a blizzard she buckled Espirit into her Impala (wait! Isn’t that the same kind of car the kidnappers were driving??) and drove him to Lansing. Espirit was relieved to see the trusty black Chrysler from Region 9 in the parking lot and knew it was finally over. He was finally safe!
“I’ve never been so relieved to see anyone in my life,” he said. “Now I’ve spent a couple of days relaxing and I’m ready to get down to business. I just love my new digs. They even have a special little place for me to hang out and eat krill!”
When asked how he felt about his new home, his only response was “God bless Susan Bowen and Region 9!”
And that, my friends, is just how it happened!
Susan Eagling Bowen