The following is the story of Brock Hopkins, and it is a story of hope. You’re probably reading this in a cramped cubicle at a job you hate, constantly checking the clock to see when it’s time to go back to the home you can’t afford to see the spouse you can’t stand. Brock’s tale, relayed from the Daily Inter Lake, will inspire you. It will reassure you that a man can smoke weed, enter a bear enclosure without permission, get bit on the ass by a grizzly and earn $65,000 in workers comp.
Brock Hopkins would help out from time to time at Great Bear Adventure Park in Montana. According to park owner Russ Kilpatrick, Brock didn’t work there, but acted as a volunteer and was paid “out of his heart.” Kilpatrick had no workers’ compensation insurance because he didn’t consider Brock an employee and also, what could go wrong at a grizzly bear park?
On a chilly November day in 2007, Brock smoked some weed. He was asked to fix a fence in the park, and did so while Kilpatrick slept. Kilpatrick later told a judge that he had explicitly told Brock not to feed any of the bears. The bears were entering hibernation and were not to be disturbed.
Brock’s next step was a natural one; he mixed up some food and went to feed the bears. Upon entering the cage, Red, the largest grizzly in the enclosure, knocked Brock to the ground, “sat on him and bit his leg and buttocks.” Keep in mind, Brock had smoked marijuana, so this must have been one heck of a mauling for him.
Brodie, a second bear, came to Brock’s rescue and bit Red. Again, try to remember that Brock had smoked marijuana before being rescued from a bear attack by another bear. Brock crawled under an electric fence where he was later found by Russ Kilpatrick. Russ notified emergency personnel and Brock was airlifted to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Please don’t forget that Brock had smoked marijuana before taking a helicopter ride after being attacked by a bear. This was quite the day for Mr. Hopkins, but his adventure didn’t stop there.
A Workers’ Compensation Court ruling found that Brock was owed about $65,000 for the medical bills that were a result of his amazing day. Russ Kilpatrick argued that besides not technically being an employee and explicitly being told not to feed the bears, Brock had smoked weed that day and was at fault for his own injuries.
The case was taken to the Montana Supreme Court where a judge called Brock’s actions “mind-bogglingly stupid,” but still upheld the previous ruling that he be awarded the workers’ compensation.
Brock Hopkins, the American Dream personified.
Court says mauling covered by work comp [Daily Inter Lake]