Nicole McNeil, a barista at her local Starbucks in DuPont, Washington, had become quite in tune with her regular customers.
She explains that you begin to remember their regular orders, then little by little you start having small conversations with them. Over time, you begin to tune in on their moods for each given day.
Vince Villano was one of McNeil’s regular customers.
When McNeil’s shift ended, she noticed that Vince was still sitting alone at one of the tables, sipping on his regular cold brew, but he appeared to be going through a bit of a rough time. All she really knew about him was that he enjoyed Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with full pumps of syrup, but she could immediately tell that he was having an off day.
McNeil decided to sit with him and ask him directly what was wrong.
Villano explained that he had served in the United States Army for eight years.
This gave Villano and McNeil a lot to talk about as Nicole’s husband, Justin, had also served in the Army. As they continued to chat, Villano admitted that 11 years prior, he has been diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease and that up until now, things had actually been going fairly well.
The prior week, Villano’s test results indicated a high build-up of toxins in his kidneys.
Villano’s kidneys had started failing, forcing him into regular dialysis.
When McNeil went home after her shift, she told her husband about her regular customer who was an Army veteran in need of a kidney.
After hearing the story, her husband immediately said he had two perfectly working kidneys, and Villano could have one.
The motto “I’ve got your back” rang true even years after their time in service had ended. Justin meant what he said, he was completely willing to give away his kidney to a man he’d never even met. Anytime another Army veteran was in need, he wanted to do all that he could to help out.
Villano and the McNeils instantly hit it off and became friends. After a short while, Justin McNeil could no longer bear witness to his friend’s suffering. They made an appointment to see if Justin’s kidney could prove a viable match.
Justin was about the closest match that Villano could find of someone not directly related by blood.
After spending the Christmas holiday together, the men underwent kidney transplant surgery the very next day.
It’s truly the season for giving. We can’t imagine a better gift for a polycystic kidney patient than a new fully-functioning kidney.
After a successful operation, Villano’s new kidney appears to be thriving in its new body.
What a Christmas miracle. This is proof enough that a simple act of kindness can go a long way. Nicole McNeil offered a listening ear to a customer, and the prevailing series of events was nothing short of miraculous, and to think it all began over a single cup of cold brew!
This story also exemplifies just how tight of bonds service members create with one another. Although they are not technically blood brothers, Justin McNeil and Vince Villano will be brothers for life.
To view the extent of this miraculous interaction, be sure to check out the video below!
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When a barista learned one of her regulars needed a new kidney, her husband offered to donate his. What began as a selfless act from one veteran to another led to an unbreakable bond between two families. 💚https://t.co/bFAszCcJpA pic.twitter.com/8OWhg1l5Nv
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) December 27, 2018