Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A rooster that participates in Civil War reenactments was reunited with his owner after going missing in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Alabama.
Thomas Ramsey, 18, founder of the Muddy Rabbits Mess military reenactment group, said he started bringing his pet rooster, Peep, along on Civil War reenactments after learning about soldiers who kept similar pets on the front lines.
Ramsey said he and his group, including Peep, were on their way back to Mississippi after a reenactment event in Springhill, Tenn., when they stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Cullman.
He said Peep was tied up in the bed of his pickup truck, but a friend went out to check on the vehicle after about an hour and discovered Peep was gone.
"I went back into the Cracker Barrel and it was very hard for me to say this with a straight face, even though I was panicking: 'Do you have cameras in the parking lot? I think someone stole my chicken,'" Ramsey recalled to The Cullman Times.
A fellow diner overheard the question and told Ramsey that Peep had been spotted wandering loose in the parking lot. Ramsey, his friends and Cullman Animal Control Officer Cooper Harris searched the area for Peep, but eventually the group had to get back on the road to Mississippi.
Ramsey posted in multiple Facebook groups about his missing pet, and when he was nearly back in Mississippi he learned Peep had returned to the Cracker Barrel parking lot and was safely captured.
John Watson, a local farmer who had followed the search on Facebook, volunteered to drive Peep to Birmingham, where the chicken and owner were reunited.
"I believe in paying it forward," Watson said. "God has blessed my family so much throughout the years, I believe we should be kind to our fellow man. Yes, it was 'just a chicken,' but it was his and he clearly cared for it."