After a long day of flood cleanup, two guys in Nebraska got an unexpected but welcomed "gift sent from the heavens": free, cold beer.
Friends Kyle Simpson and Gayland Stouffer had spent Sunday cleaning mud from Simpson's property after massive flooding across the Midwest left large swaths of land swamped and levees overwhelmed.
The deluge in Nebraska has caused an estimated $1.3 billion in damage. Gov. Pete Ricketts said, "I don't think there's ever been a disaster this widespread in Nebraska."
In Linwood, Simpson and Stouffer, clad in chest waders and tired from the day of work, were heading back to Simpson's car when they noticed what looked like a refrigerator in the distance, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
A 'slow-moving natural disaster': Midwest flooding could be costly: In Nebraska, tab is $1.3 billion and rising with waters
Stouffer took a closer look.
Simpson told the newspaper that his friend yelled, "Hey, it’s a refrigerator ... and it’s full of beer!"
Simpson responded, "Yeah, right."
"It’s ice cold!" Simpson recalled his friend saying.
Lo and behold, in the middle of catastrophe, a fridge full of Busch and Bud Light beer had appeared. Naturally, the two pals cracked open a few cold ones.
Simpson told the Journal Star it was "a gift sent from the heavens" and that the beer was delicious. But they also wondered where it came from.
"We thought about the poor guy who lost it and hoped he was OK," he told the Omaha World-Herald.
Turns out, he is.
A friend posted photos of the duo and their miracle fridge in the Facebook group "Nebraska through the lens." The post drew hundreds of comments and thousands of shares.
For those of you that don't know, our state of #Nebraska is going through record flooding. Sometimes though, the world sends you a break. These guys went to their #DuckCamp and found a fully-stocked #BeerFridge. #NebraskaStrong #Flood2019 pic.twitter.com/t8FvdqVQ3g— Fat Boy Wild Game (@gameseasonings) March 19, 2019
Brian Healy told the newspapers that the photos caught his attention. His family has a cabin in the area, and while most Healys drink Busch Light, his father drinks Bud.
Combine the ratio of Busch to Bud and markings in the corner from a 2007 house fire, and Healy knew the fridge belonged to his family.
"I couldn’t hardly believe they found it all intact," Healy told the World-Herald. "The pictures really made me laugh."
"It’s just a summer cabin, no heat to it," Healy told the Journal Star. "But it had a full beer fridge; you always got to have one of those."
Healy said his cabin, 4 miles away from Simpson's property, didn't survive the flooding but his family's homes were OK.
Simpson's cabin made it, but he stressed how much help the area needs in the wake of the destruction.
"It's nice that somebody can smile about this story," he told the World-Herald. "But it doesn't really take away from the fact that people really need help, not just supplies."
As for the fridge, Simpson and Healy chatted earlier this week, and Simpson plans to return it after waters recede and roads are fixed, he told the World-Herald – "minus a couple of beers."
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY.
Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'A gift sent from the heavens': Nebraska pals find fridge full of beer during flood cleanup