Nicole McNeil’s simple question to a customer ended up saving the man’s life.
McNeil works as a barista at a Starbucks in DuPont, Washington. Back in January 2017, she noticed that one of her regulars, Vince Villano, had been looking rather depressed every time he came in to order his cold brew.
“He kind of seemed like an Eeyore, just a little bit grouchy, a little bit of a sad sack all the time,” McNeil told KIRO 7.
After several visits, she finally decided to ask: “What’s been going on with you?”
She insisted that she was willing to listen to him, so Villano got the courage to sit down with her and explain that he had polycystic kidney disease, an incurable genetic condition that causes cysts to form on his kidneys.
Villano needed a kidney transplant – otherwise, he would be facing a lifetime of dialysis or worse.
McNeil was heartbroken. As the day progressed, she could not stop thinking about Villano’s predicament, so when she finally got home from work, she recounted the story to her husband Justin.
Then without hesitation, Justin said: “I’ve got a kidney, you know, we could do this. I think I’m willing to do that.”
After volunteering to get tested, Justin and Villano began spending holidays and weekends together only to find that they had a lot in common – they were both Army veterans, they both liked hiking and camping, and even more excitingly, they were perfect donor matches.
The two men underwent surgery last week, and according to an update from Starbucks, the transplant was a success and they are both in great health.
Furthermore, the McNeils and Villano are now lifelong friends.
“In general, having them as friends, family, I wouldn’t want it to not be this way,” Villano told KIRO. “I can’t imagine not having them in my life.”
(WATCH the video below) – Photo by Starbucks
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