Gatlinburg — Running a restaurant a few hundred yards from a national park where black bears run wild can lead to some wild run-ins. Just ask Carolyn Ball, a waitress with more than 30 years of experience in downtown Gatlinburg.

"Last week, we had a bear climb up a tree from the creek and onto the patio where some customers were eating. The bear surprised them. They obviously got up and left the food on the table. The bear stood on the table and ate a pizza," said Ball, a waitress at Howard's Steakhouse.

Ball said she let the bear finish eating before grabbing a chair to push it back from the patio. In the meantime, she took a few photographs.

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