Joe Edmonton was visiting the LA Zoo when he was met with an unexpected fate. After climbing into the tiger cage to get a better look, he suddenly found himself face to face with a 485 pound Bengal Tiger. He tried to fight back, but the tiger’s strength proved overwhelming. Zoo workers responded immediately by shooting the tiger with a tranquilizer. But not before Joe was mauled and left in critical condition.

Huge gashes on his arms and chest left him feeling despondent. But instead of retaliating with anger and tears, Joe chose a different. approach.

“I forgive him,” Edmonton said. “I don’t blame him for what he did. Everybody carries around pain. No one can judge. I can only imagine what it’s like to spend your days locked up in a cage, only to be gawked at by complete strangers every day of your life.”

Joe even took to Twitter to defend those who were animal shaming the tiger. Many internet trolls were calling the tiger names like “beast” and “monstrous villain.” But Joe defended the tiger, composing tweets like “Only God can judge a tiger” and “Don’t judge a tiger until you’ve been inside his cage.”

A couple of months later in the LA Zoo parking lot, animal rights protesters clashed with members of the Paleo community who were clamoring to eat the unruly tiger. Edmonton met them there, imploring them to put aside their differences.

“Watch this,” was the last thing he said before purchasing a Zoo ticket and heading through the gates. Moments later, Joe was back inside the tiger cage offering his hand in a show of solidarity, demonstrating in dramatic fashion, his willingness to put the past behind him.

Unfortunately, Joe now only has one hand. And he is again in critical condition in the hospital. However, his attitude is unchanged. “I still don’t hold it against him,” he says.

“I believe everyone deserves a  second chance. Even wild beasts that maul the fuck outta you,” Joe laughs.

Featured image by thedigme — Flickr.