Uber driver Tim Letts' selfless act of kindness changed his passenger's life and serves as an inspiration to all of us to be more selfless and compassionate.
Uber driver Tim Letts has been hailed a hero after he donated a kidney to a regular passenger he had only met once. The 33-year-old, former Army veteran, met Bill Sumiel while driving him back to his house in Salem, New Jersey, after his dialysis appointment. According to 6abc Action News, during their conversation, Sumiel revealed he had suffered from kidney failure due to diabetes and that he needed a new kidney as soon as possible. Letts offered to donate his kidney, telling Sumiel, "If you'll take my name and number, I'll give a kidney to you." Despite being a total stranger, Sumiel didn't hesitate and took him up on the offer. "I was shaking so hard I couldn't even write down his name and number," Sumiel recalled.
The transplant took place at Christiana Hospital and was a success. Sumiel has since described Letts as giving him "the gift of life," adding that he's "so fortunate" to have been given that gift. "I can almost live my life back to normal, and this work (at the University of Delaware's Exercise clinic for renal rehab) is getting me closer to that every day," he said. "I know miracles have happened in the past. Maybe they never happened to me, maybe they have. But now I really have those beliefs reinforced."
As believed by 6 ABC Action News, the pair remain in touch and have become lifelong friends. Even after Letts moved to Germany, he plans to stay in touch with the new owner of his kidney through Facebook. Letts' decision to donate his kidney to a stranger has been praised by the medical community. Dr. John Friedewald, a transplant specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said, "Kidney donation is not without risk, but it is generally considered to be very safe. The benefits of donation are that it's a way to help another human being, and it's very fulfilling."
While it's rare for an Uber driver to donate a kidney to a passenger, it's not uncommon for people to become organ donors for strangers. According to the National Kidney Foundation, around 17,000 kidney transplants take place in the United States each year, with over 6,000 of them coming from living donors.
Letts' selfless act is an example that even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in someone's life. As Letts himself said, "I don't think I'm special. I think anyone would have done it if they were in my shoes." If there is one thing that Letts' story proves, it's that there are still good people in the world, who are willing to help others, no matter what. Letts' act of kindness has undoubtedly changed Sumiel's life, and it serves as an inspiration to all of us to be more selfless and compassionate.