A 23-year-old man who lost his left arm in an alligator attack has managed to stay optimistic about the life-altering experience—which might have something to do with the fact that another part of his anatomy was exposed at the time and managed to remain attached.
Jordan Rivera was peeing outside Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte on the evening of Sunday, May 21, when the incident occurred. Rivera does not remember exactly what happened, although while speaking to local NBC affiliate WBBH, he recalled that the bar was busy, with a long line for the men’s bathroom, and so he went outside to relieve himself. At around 1:40 a.m. local time, while peeing behind the bar, Rivera fell into a pond.
“That’s literally the last thing I remember,” he said. Sometime after, the 10-foot-long gator attacked him, biting his arm.
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Manny Hidalgo, a fellow patron at Banditos, came to Rivera’s aid after he heard him call out from the water. “He was yelling and swimming toward the shoreline,” Hidalgo told the Daily Sun. “I ran and dragged him up onto the sand. I was scared to get close to the water because it was dark out.”
Rivera was rushed to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, where doctors had no choice but to amputate his arm above the elbow.
“Those gators, I didn’t truly understand them until I woke up in the hospital and, ‘Oh, gator got your arm,’ ” he said. “They got my elbow. So, I don’t have an elbow… I can still move my arm around and whatnot.”
However, Rivera has somehow managed to hold onto a positive outlook.
“I didn’t lose my life, I lost my arm,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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