When Cyndi Bouc left her farm northwest of Ceresco on Friday morning for the 35-minute drive to her workplace in Lincoln, rain was falling as she drove over wet gravel roads and through mud puddles.
She was tucked safely inside her Ford Fusion. What she didn't know, and didn't find out until midafternoon, was that one of her farm's five kittens, born in May, was along for the ride, huddling somewhere in the undercarriage below the engine.
"It's hard to believe the little guy made it," Bouc said.
The kitten must have found its hitchhike hiding place when the garage door at home was open, she said.
A co-worker at Sampson Construction came out to her car Friday afternoon to bring her something as she was leaving for an event and heard meowing coming from under the car. She and others then began trying to locate the kitten.
"I don't know how many of us were trying to get the little kitty out from the car. But we saved him," she said.
The cat didn't have a name before, but Bouc, who is a publishing coordinator in the marketing department, said she thinks they'll have to call him "Sampson" now.
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"I think Sammy's kind of a cute little name for it," she said.
The funny thing, Bouc said, is it may not be the first time it's happened.
About eight years ago, a kitten was seen running around the Sampson parking lot, and it looked a lot like one at her farm. When she got home that evening, she learned the kitten was missing.
"I never really wanted to believe that it could ride for 30 miles (under) a car. To me, that's kind of hard to believe," she said.
Now she knows, because it happened again, she said.
As traumatic as the ride might have been for Sammy, it may have saved the kitten's life. Bouc said her son called Friday afternoon and said he could only find two of the farm kittens and he thought a fox hanging around the area may have gotten the rest.
A good day, it seems, after all for Sammy.