Canadian woman who scared cougar with Metallica song got to thank James Hetfield for saving her life

"If you had told the 18-year-old me that this would happen, I never would've believed it"

James Hetfield calls Canadian woman Metallica cougar
James Hetfield

In recent “no big deal” news, a Vancouver Island woman blasted Metallica’s song “Don’t Tread on Me” while hiking to fend off a cougar blocking her way. When Metallica heard the story, frontman James Hetfield gave her a call directly — and she got to thank him for saving her life.

The woman, Dee Gallant, was hiking with her dog Murphy when a cougar approached them, prowling in a “predator walk”. Gallant took out her phone, saw “Don’t Tread on Me” in her music library, and hit play. The cougar went darting away into the bushes as soon as the opening notes rang out. She left the situation with a simple wish: “I would love to contact [Metallica] someday and tell James Hetfield that he saved my life.”

Luckily for her, the opportunity arrived fairly quickly. Gallant told CTV News that she got a phone call from a band liaison telling her to expect a call from Metallica, reports Exclaim! As it was happening, Hetfield was on the other end of the line and said hello. Unsurprisingly, she was shocked and at a loss for words. “It’s surreal how quickly it happened and how far it’s gone,” she said. “The fact that he’s so down to earth and such a great person, I’m very pleased to find that out firsthand.”

(Read: 35 Years Ago, Metallica Took a Quantum Leap on Ride the Lightning)

Hetfield and Gallant talked about their respective homes in California and Vancouver Island, their pets, and, of course, the whole cougar ordeal. Afterwards, Hetfield sent her a metal-horns selfie as “confirmation that it was me.”

“I can’t believe he knows my dog’s name,” Gallant said to CTV News. “If you had told the 18-year-old me that this would happen, I never would’ve believed it. I would’ve just fallen out of my skin with excitement.”

You can watch the local news station’s interview with Gallant here.