Jenna Krehbiel headed to the women's bathroom after the show at the Isis Shrine Circus performance on Saturday in Salina, Kansas, and ended up face-to-face with a full-grown tiger.
"I went in to use the bathroom, and a lady came in to get her daughter out and said there was a tiger loose," Krehbiel told the Salina Journal. "I didn't know it was in the bathroom, and I walked in the (open) door, which closed right after I had walked in.
"I saw the tiger; it was at most two feet in front of me, and I turned around calmly and walked back toward the door. Someone opened the door and said get out."
Krehbiel estimated the tiger was around 250 pounds, although it wasn't the largest cat in the show.
Chris Bird, the manager of the Bicentennial Center where the circus performed, said staff quickly barricaded the concourse after the tiger escaped during the show.
Bird said the tiger went into the bathroom, and while a security guard got people out one way, Krehbiel entered the other door.
"I am sure she saw the tiger because the bathroom is only 25 feet long," Bird said. "Once she saw the tiger, I'm sure she knew to go the other way. Overall, it was a scary, surreal moment. I am glad no one was hurt or injured."
Bird said a veterinarian checked out the tiger after it was recaptured.
Krehbiel's spoke to circus personnel after the incident, who told him the tiger was well trained and there was no risk.
The couple's 3-year-old daughter, meanwhile, had different concerns.
"My daughter wanted to know if it had washed its hands," Krehbiel said. "That was her only concern. I think that shows the thoughts of children and that they wouldn't have known there was danger."