Raccoons — aka trash pandas — will go great lengths to steal rubbish, but this one in Arlington, Virginia literally went the extra mile when it unwittingly hitched a ride on the back of a garbage truck.
Posted to Twitter last Friday by Helena B. Evich, a reporter with Politico, the amazing snap surfed to the top of the microblogging platform with 9,000+ retweets and 20,000+ Likes.
This being the internet, people had strong takes about the refuse refugee (<-----refuse used here in its noun form, yo) — and they weren't afraid to share them.
Some commenters drew comparisons to the country's current political climate...
...while others found humor in ride-sharing apps.
There were references to The Guardians Of The Galaxy.
And relevant memes.
Someone even redesigned it as a motivational poster. (Because 10/10 would hang in their cubicle.)
And when this guy lamented the joke that got away...
...this lady stepped in to turn it for him.
Still, no matter what side of the political spectrum people fell on, it was easy to identify with the critter's plight. Its shame was our shame and its journey was our journey.
Lost in the flurry of LOLs was some good news: Evich contacted both the driver and the company that operated the truck to ensure the skittish stowaway wasn't hurt.
According to ARLNOW, the story ended in Falls Church, roughly seven miles from the site of the picture. There, the truck was met by an animal control team that coaxed the "skittish stowaway" from its perch and escorted him away to sanctuary.
But, befitting of the year 2017, that was a false narrative: Our hero would not be so easily apprehended.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the wily trash panda eluded his would-be captors by fleeing into a nearby park — a timeline later confirmed by the municipality in an official press release (our emphasis)!
"The City of Falls Church Police Department responded today to a report of a raccoon riding on the back of a waste disposal vehicle. Police officers arrived on the scene near Hillwood Ave. and attempted to catch the raccoon, which appeared to be unharmed. The raccoon avoided capture and escaped towards the Larry Graves park area."
Never change, trash raccoon, never change.