Internet Culture

Reporter fleeing Yellowstone bison is the social-distancing meme we all need

"Oh, no, I ain't messing with you," said reporter Deion Broxton, the smartest man in journalism.

If only the coronavirus outbreak could be dodged this easily. On Wednesday, Deion Broxton, a reporter for KTVM-TV in Butte, Montana, was reporting a story from Yellowstone National Park when he noticed a herd of bison heading his way. Broxton side-eyed the giant creatures for a moment, muttering, "Oh, my god, oh, my god," and then decided to exit the stage immediately. "Oh, no, I ain't messing with you," Broxton said, before quickly walking off camera, a smart and self-protective move that turned the brief video instantly viral.Β 

As of Thursday, the video he tweeted out showing the encounter has been viewed more than 7.9 million times. "There was a herd of bison walking right toward me at YellowstoneNPS today!" he wrote.

Broxton also tweeted out a video of the bison, writing, "Here's the video of the bison I shot once I got a safe distance away lol."

Yellowstone National Park's official Twitter account praised the reporter. "A perfect example of what to do when approached by wildlife!" a spokesperson for the park said in a tweet. "Thanks, Deion, for putting the #YellowstonePledge into action!" (The Yellowstone Pledge urges travelers to give the park's wildlife room and follow other simple rules for staying safe.)

Broxton's wariness and quick exit inspired the meme-makers of the world, who perhaps needed a distraction more than ever due to the coronavirus outbreak. People captioned Broxton's video with all kinds of different themes.

"When I see someone cough in the grocery store," wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote, "When that one co-worker starts coming your way to interrupt your conversation."

Even former pro athlete Deion Sanders jumped in, tweeting, "I don't blame u namesake! Somebody has to tell the story."

In anΒ interview for his alma mater, Maryland's Towson University, Broxton said "nothing could prepare a guy who grew up in Baltimore to deal with the wildlife in Montana. I'm used to rats, not bison."