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Galopia – Luca Delfino was going for a casual walk in the woods when he heard a twig snap behind him as well as a low, growling sound.

A bear! What were the chances? Quickly, Delfino tried to think of what he’d heard about bears in the past. Was he to run? Stand still? Climb a tree? Curl up in a ball? He couldn’t remember.

Luckily, he didn’t have to. After giving him a great big sniff, the bear apparently decided Delfino wouldn’t make a satisfactory meal, and lumbered away.

Relieved, and determined never to find himself in a similar position again – Delfino lumbered away, as well, back to his office where he hatched a business plan: A hotline that would answer hikers’ questions should they ever find themselves similarly confronted by a bear.

Thus, 1-800-EEK-BEAR was born – a toll-free number that offers advice on eluding the big wild beasts. All users have to do is dial the number on their mobile phone, then scroll through a number of options.

Menu options include: Press 1 to learn what to do if being attacked by a brown bear; press 2 if being attacked by a black bear; press 3 if being attacked by a polar bear; press 4 if being attacked by a panda bear, and so on.
Once the type of bear is selected, the user selects from an automated menu listing types of attacks: charging, biting, squishing, carrying off, and so on. A third menu level collects the user’s demographic and credit card information, which is verified before the advice is dispensed.

“There still are a few bugs to work out,” Delfino said. In testing, we’re finding that a lot of the calls are dropped in the middle of the second round of selections.”

“It must have something to do with the strength of the signal,” he said. “Once we find the test subjects, we’ll be able to ask more questions about what’s been happening. But so far, we’ve been unable to find them.”


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