80-year-old woman keeps bears out of East Tennessee antique shop

GREENVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – On a quiet Tuesday in Greenville, 80-year-old Brenda Freshour was working at the Back Porch antique store.

She has worked there for over a year since retiring after being a regular customer. Although Greenville has been her home since she was born, she had a day earlier this week that she will never forget.

“And I saw this furry thing walking down the sidewalk and I thought, that's a very big dog,” Freshour said.

What she initially thought was a dog turned out to be a bear that had crossed all lanes of the W Andrew Johnson Highway and was running toward the store where she worked.

As the bear got closer, she finally realized what it was, then quickly ran inside and tried to lock the door. As she was locking the door, the bear stood on its hind legs and stopped at the door, its paws banging on the doorknobs.

“Well, it was kind of scary, but I didn't get nervous until it was over because I looked around the store and said, there's no way he's coming in here because he's going to destroy everything and I'm not going to let that happen,” Freshour said.

It took only seconds for the bear to move on, but it gave one longtime Greenville resident a day at work she will never forget.

Freshour said she wasn't afraid for her own safety, but wanted to make sure the bear didn't get in because she was afraid of what it might do to the store.

“I’m too old to be afraid of big things anymore,” said Freshour.

The bear ran away after the encounter and no one was hurt.