Husband of Starbucks Barista Donates His Kidney to Longtime Customer

The Army veteran got more than a cup of coffee after telling his longtime barista about his kidney issues.

The husband of one Washington state Starbucks barista served up more than just coffee to a regular when he donated his kidney to the Army veteran.

Barista Nicole McNeil was serving one of her regular customers, Vince Villano, his customary cup of Joe one morning last year when she noticed he seemed a little grumpy.

“She's a genuine, caring, inquisitive person," Villano told Inside Edition. "She just said, ‘Hey, what’s going on? You look like having a bad day?’”

“He said, ‘It would take a long time to tell ya.’ I had the time that day, I took it,” McNeil recalled. 

As it turned out, Villano had been battling kidney failure and to survive, he'd have to start dialysis each week. Soon, he'd need a new kidney altogether.

When McNeil, a mom of three, got home, she told her husband, Justin, about the conversation.

“In that moment, I hear the story [and I think,] 'I should do this. I should step up,'” Justin told Inside Edition. 

Villano was shocked to hear the news. “'This is really great,'" he said he thought. "'Someone I don’t even know willing to save my life.'” 
Justin's kidney turned out to be a perfect match and last month the two underwent the surgery. 

“I think it a wonderful demonstration of what humanity is capable of,” Dr. Carrie Minnelli, who performed the surgery, told Inside Edition. 

The transplant surgery took place pm Dec. 26 at the University of Washington Medical Center. 

“It was the only Christmas present I needed,” Villano said. 

The surgery was a success and the two men are now taking their first steps toward a lifelong friendship, all thanks to a cup of coffee.