Starbucks Barista Sits Down With Sad Veteran And Ends Up Saving His Life

For years, Vince Villano was a frequent customer at the Starbucks in Dupont, Washington. He would walk in every morning and order his Trenta Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, full pumps, from barista Nicole McNeil.

Vince Villano

Nicole knew him only as his order until one day, she noticed that he looked down.

Starbucks barista Nicole McNeil

After her shift, she sat down with Vince and found out that he was a veteran sergeant and had been suffering from polycystic kidney disease for over a decade. His kidneys were failing and he had to begin dialysis treatments. He was on the transplant list but the chances of finding a matching donor were slim. The thought of leaving his two children, Kanton and Savanna, without a father weighed heavy on his mind.

Nicole went home and told her husband Justin McNeil about Vince. To her surprise, Justin instantly offered his kidney to Vince. Justin, also an army veteran, felt a strong bond with Vince and wanted to help in any way he could. The McNeils began hanging out with Vince and his family and soon became close friends.

Nicole and Justin McNeil

When genetic testing revealed that Justin was a close match to Vince, He couldn’t stand seeing his friend’s health deteriorate. On the day after Christmas, the two men underwent the transplant surgery and both emerged successful. The new kidney was functioning optimally and the doctors estimated an extension of 20 more years in Vince’s life due to Justin’s selfless act.


The story of Vince and Justin is a heartwarming reminder of the power of kindness and the importance of listening to others. What impact would it have if we all followed Nicole’s example and listened and connected more with others?

We never know the impact we can have on someone’s life until we take the time to listen.


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