If cats have nine lives, then Paul Robertson's feline friend has eight left.
The St. Paul long-haul truck driver recently lost his cat, Percy, while recovering from a bout of food poisoning at a rest area in Ohio. While Robertson was sleeping in the bed of the truck, Percy stepped on the power window switch and escaped. Devastated, Robertson posted about the incident on Facebook.
Robertson, 57, created a map to show his location, and his Facebook followers sprung to action. Some shared the post and offered prayers and tips on how to get Percy to come back. Others began calling nearby animal shelters looking for Percy. One friend showed up to help Robertson search the rest area in the rain and lightning, and another created a Go Fund Me account to raise money for a reward.
"When Percy got out, his words spoke so deeply to all of us, especially ones that have been in that position of losing a beloved pet," said Jennifer Smith, a close friend of Robertson's. "It might just be him and his kitty in the truck hauling down the road day after day, but when he logs onto Facebook, they have an entire extended family online, new and old, looking forward to hearing about their day's adventure."
By night's fall, there was still no sign of Percy. Robertson left Percy's litter box and food, and a pair of dirty socks outside the truck to lure Percy home. Still, no luck. A winter storm was moving in and Robertson would soon need to move on. He had a load to deliver and a deadline.After more than 24 hours of searching, Robertson regretfully left Percy behind, then posted the saddest Facebook update ever. "I felt hollow and low and terrible," Robertson said. "But I couldn't be days late because my cat went missing."
The next 400 miles were the worst stretch of travel Robertson had experienced in his six years of driving semi-truck.
But then, the unthinkable happened. Shortly after arriving to his destination, Robertson saw a cat emerge from beneath his semi-truck. It was Percy. Robertson detailed the reunion through – what else – a Facebook update."This is the feel-good story of 2017," Robertson said. "If ever a moment felt like a gift from God, it was then."
Aside from needing a warm bath and a trip to the veterinarian for some medication to heal an eye infection (likely from the dust and salt endured on the long trip), Percy happily reclaimed his co-pilot status after his daring adventure.
And Robertson promptly MacGyvered the window switches so that Percy isn't tempted to take a joyride again.