My husband Tom and I have driven across the 23-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge in Virginia countless times. But Friday night June 3rd was a sight like no other.
We were heading out of the second tunnel when we saw it – white, fluffy, and on the road. A few seconds passed before we realized what “it” was. I can still hear my husband, “Was that a chicken?”
It all happened so fast. I was in tears. Quick! Turn around. Make a U-turn at the first break in the road, drive back through the second tunnel, then the first. Another U-turn through tunnel, road, tunnel!
Our plan: If the chicken was still there and not hit by a car, we’d slow down, turn on the flashers. I’d be ready with a towel, throw open the door, and grab the bird!
There she was, standing just the same, head stretched down and forward toward the oncoming traffic. I grabbed her!
Reva the Revenant
This was not her day to die, and with that thought in mind, I named her Reva, short for “Revenant,” after the movie – a person who has returned from the dead or a long absence.
Now – what to do with a chicken? Heading toward our boat at the marina on the Eastern Shore, we got a box from a liquor store and laid Reva in it with her towel.
I called a friend hoping she knew someone who wanted a chicken. A few minutes later she called back. Turned out an advocacy sanctuary for chickens called United Poultry Concerns was a mere 20 miles up the road on the Eastern Shore!
I left a phone message, and waiting for a callback, I made Reva a makeshift plastic water bowl. To my delight, she took several large gulps and even seemed to splash a bit on her beak. I later learned this was the first time Reva had ever had unlimited access to water.
A New Life for Reva
On Saturday morning, Reva was still alive! A call from Karen Davis at United Poultry Concerns said she would take Reva, and that her sanctuary assistant, Holly Wills, would welcome Reva, Tom, and me when we arrived. (Karen was driving to an animal rights event that morning.)
When we got there, Holly had a spot all ready for Reva on the screened porch with a bowl of food, fresh water, and a soft quilt. Holly said Reva probably fell out of the truck taking her to be slaughtered on the Eastern Shore.
Later I spoke with a woman who said she’d seen Reva on the Bridge that Friday afternoon but didn’t stop. From her account, Reva may have been there for at least two hours before we found her.
We left United Poultry Concerns knowing that Reva’s story could not have a happier ending. She beat the odds. The rest of Reva’s life could only be good.