LILBURN, Ga. - Snakes. It's a word that sends shivers down the backs of many. Now let's take it up a notch and imagine being trapped in your car with one. Well, I talk to a Lilburn woman who has quite a story to tell.
Let Julie Weber get you started.
"So we were on our way to South Carolina for Spring break and our transmission went out on the side of the highway."
So, the family van went to the dealership, then sat there for four weeks.
"It was horrible," she remembered.
She picked it up Monday and that's when the real ride began for her and for her friends watching it all unfold on social media in what they called "Snakegate."
"I open the door. The first thing I notice is a snake skin three feet long," she said.
Yes, lying on the passenger seat.
Now laughing, "I knew what it was. I have three sons. I'm a Cub Scout leader. I immediately go back in and say, 'What's up with the snake skin? Well, we saw that and thought it belonged to you.'"
No, no it didn't. So they searched. Front seat. Back seat. Under the seats. Nothing. So, she got in her van and left. But 25 miles out - yes - the creepiest thing happened.
"I see out of the corner of my eye against the black interior a bright orange snake. It's making its way between the seat and the passenger side of the door."
She calls 911. Here's a partial transcript:
911 Operator: Clayton County 911.
Julie Weber: I'm on the side of 675 and there's a snake in my car.
911 Operator: There's a what, ma'am?
Julie Weber: There is a snake in my car. I don't know what else to do or if this is the right number to call, but I'm not getting back into that car.
Oh, never say never. While Julie waits for an officer to show up she leans on her Facebook friends who keep her laughing.
"Let's hope it's not a mama snake that's laid eggs,'" said one.
"I'm getting braver while I am waiting and I look under the seat and I don't see it anywhere and that's when I started to cry because I thought someone is going to show up. We can't find the snake and they can't get the snake.
And that's just what happened. The police officer tried but ... no snake. So Julie was back on the road. But, finally, after getting home there was a break in Snakegate. This non-venomous corn snake made an appearance. It just popped out of the passenger side vent and took a look-see.
"My neighbor had a good hold on him coming out of this vent."
He tugged but the snake held on tight. After a 10-minute struggle they let him go, back into the van's ventilation system.
"We were afraid, I don't know if you can break a snake in half, " she wondered.
Julie gave up and went to bed. The next morning she checked in showing a home video to her growing Snakegate watchers.
"So I'm back again. Day two. Hour 14. I don't know, 15? AC blasting hoping the cold air drives it out," she posted.
One friend suggested it was time to just light up the van - get it over with - posting a meme of Angela Bassett walking from a burning car in the movie "Waiting to Exhale."
But then Daniel Brant, her sons' school bus driver, walked up, simply opened the door and there it was. The snake. He lifted it out. Took a hero picture, and just like that it was over.
After getting her van back from the clutches of a corn snake and tossing it, alive over the fence, Julie Weber said she actually felt sorry for the snake.
"I did. Eventually. It took me a while to get there, but...."