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Local railroad worker defies boss, saves kitten from train car

Chris Small was told not to come back to work after saving kitten. Norfolk Southern later said his actions did not warrant a dismissal.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Oct. 30, Chris Small was working his normal night shift on the Norfolk Southern railroad when he heard a series of small meows. 

"I work for the railroad and I inspect trains. One night I was inspecting a train and I heard her crying for help," Small said. 

To Small's astonishment, he found a kitten who had been stuck in the car. 

"I finally got up on the car and realized 'okay it's coming from this area' and I'm shining my light around everywhere trying to find it," Small said.

Now, Small was faced with a decision. Risk delay on the fast-paced nightly train car inspection that happens or save the kitten and get her out of danger. 

"Freight makes the money for the railroad. I understand this. My job is to continue to make sure that this freight goes as fast as I can get it to go," Small said. 

Small asked his boss on what he should do. 

"He said 'leave it alone, go back to work.' I said 'can I try to get her out of there?' He said 'no.' I said 'well I can't do that,'" Small recalled the exchange. 

Small grabbed his leather glove and secured the kitten by recusing her with a pair of tongs, disobeying his boss' orders. 

The next day he says, Small was told not to come back on company property. 

"I love the railroad. I love my job. I love what I do," Small said. 

Five days after this heroic endeavor, Small is back at work. 

Norfolk Southern told WHAS11 in a statement:

"We recognize the concerns raised, and to underscore our long-standing commitment to the safety and well-being of animals, Norfolk Southern will be making a donation in the amount of $10,000 to an animal welfare organization in the Louisville area."

Small is back at work and now has a new pal at home.

"Her name's Promise," Small said reflecting on the promise he made to come back for her.

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