A United Flight Attendant Donated a Kidney to His Co-Worker

Jun 29, 2018

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Let’s face it, the news about flight attendants isn’t exactly all warm and fuzzy right now, what with them breaking out into arguments onboard and online. But this is not what this story is about.

When Newark-based United Airlines flight attendant Jair Ripoll learned that he needed a new kidney after being diagnosed with hereditary kidney disease, he followed his friends’ advice and posted on Facebook that he was looking for a donor. “You never know where your angels are out there,” a friend told Ripoll, according to Good Morning America.

Within seconds of posting the story on Facebook, Steven Lepine, also a Newark-based United flight attendant, answered back, offering to get screened to see if their kidneys matched. “I thought we probably won’t be a match but this is something that I can do as a human being. That’s the way my parents raised us, to lend a helping hand,” Lepine told Good Morning America.

Well, it turns out that Lepine was a perfect match and was the ‘angel’ Ripoll needed. “I had some relief actually because I knew that this was going to go through and it would bring some sunshine into somebody’s world,” Lepine said. Although Ripoll gave him a chance to back out, Lepine wasn’t turning back and stayed committed to helping his coworker, eventually going through the transplant in December 2017.

It’s not uncommon for co-workers to do small things to help each other out, such as covering a shift when there’s a family emergency, but undergoing a major surgery to have a kidney removed to be transplanted into a co-worker takes that willingness to help to a whole new level.

Both men are in good health now and have returned to work. Ripoll says the two aren’t just colleagues anymore, but they are family. Lepine praised United Airlines for their continuous support and fellow flight attendants who showed up at the hospital.

United Airlines did not immediately respond to TPG’s request for comment.

Featured image courtesy of Jair Ripoll.

H/T: Good Morning America

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