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Railway boss dismisses man who disobeyed orders to rescue a kitten

Montage pictures of cat saved by railway worker cat-serious
© Aprile Small - Facebook

The manager of a goods depot owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad, US, has been dragged across the coals for his dismissal of an employee who ‘disobeyed’ him. 

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 22/08/2020, 21:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:25

On a cold and dark October evening last year Chris Small, an employee with Norfolk Southern Railroad, Virginia, was ready to clock off. But as he headed from the depot he heard the cries of a kitten coming from one of the tank cars stationed at the depot. Mr Small immediately reported his finding to his line manager.

To Small’s horror the manager told him to ignore the kitten’s plea for help. Small was told the kitten would find its own way out.

Basic kindness

But the diligent worker knew the cat would never be able to free itself from the dark cavernous wagon; the same wagon that would - the very next day - be filled with heavy-duty material. So he returned later to free the kitten, and then told his boss what he had done.

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The next day Small was told not to come in to work because he had been suspended on a charge of insubordination.

Small’s wife, Aprile, posted the story of her husband’s valiant rescue on Facebook. She received encouragement from friends far and wide, and a ubiquitous condemnation of the actions of the Railroad’s supervisor.

Faced with mounting public disgust at the injustice of the suspension, the company has since overturned the manager’s decision, and has welcomed Small back to work.