Starbucks barista helps save veteran dying of kidney disease

It's these kinds of stories that remind us that there is good in this world


Do you remember the saying that small things matter? All of us have heard it and quite often we ignore it believing that the big things actually change our lives. Vince Villano from Washington proves just the opposite. One small chat turned his life upside down.

This Washington based Army veteran sergeant was living his life happily with his wife and his two adolescent daughters. As every person out there, he had a daily routine that kept him busy. One of the things that he regularly did was drinking his favourite coffee in his favourite coffeehouse – Starbucks in Washington.

He was a regular visitor in DuPoint, but he actually never interacted with the employees, except ordering his coffee. He was known to the employees just by his face since for years he has been enjoying his coffee there.

One day, as Vince was ordering his coffee, the employee Nicole McNeil noticed something strange on Vince’s face. Her sharp eyes noted a sad and very worried expression. That motivated her to start a conversation with Vince.

Since Vince came in the coffeehouse just as Nicole’s shift was over, she sat next to him and she initiated the conversation. She recalls saying:

“He walked in and just looked particularly sad, and I was just like, ‘What’s, ya know, what’s goin’ on Vince?’”

In the beginning Vince did not want to talk about his feelings and the things that worried him so much. Instead, he started talking about his professional life. That amazed Nicole since her husband had the same profession as him. What a coincidence!

The new moment calmed Vince down and he confessed to her – he had a very serious kidney illness. He also added that in case he does not find a donor by himself, his life will be in danger and he might end up going on dialysis. Nicole felt the pain Vince was struggling with and understood the fight he had to do in order to save his life.

Vine’s confession about him being afraid that he will leave his two daughters without father touched the Starbucks’ employee. When Nicole came back home, she told everything to her husband Justin. Without a second thought, Justin said to Nicole that Vince can count on his kidney. What a great man!

Regarding her husband’s decision, she adds:

“He cares about people almost more than any anybody I’ve ever met. He’s the kindest person I’ve ever met. So, when he said, ‘I’ll give my kidney,’ it seemed like, ‘OK, sure. Yeah, you will.’”

When Vince and Justin met to discuss the possibility, the two men immediately became like brothers. They started talking about the procedure, the expectations, the life and the hope that Justin brought to Vince’s life. Very soon they started hanging out and bonded like true friends usually do.

After some time, the moment of truth finally came. Both of them went to see the doctor and talked about the donation surgery. Since a surgery of this type is quite complex, the doctor had to explain all details to both of them, especially the conditions for successful surgery. The most crucial elements for a successful organ transplant were the blood type and the genetic code. Incredibly, Justin and Vince had the same blood type and their genetics were a match. The great news resulted with scheduling the procedure itself.

The success of the surgery was expected. Both of them felt very well and Vince finally got the second chance. He was at ease that he will not leave his family. He also was very grateful to Justin’s kindness and good-doing. Their friendship now is even stronger and their families have a happy and joyful life.