See, it’s not all bad!
Social media gets a bad rap. From Nazis on Twitter to Russians on Facebook, from too many selfies on Instagram to too many married people on Tinder, people definitely tend to abuse the plethora of apps that provide access to other people.
Every once in a while, though, a story comes along that reminds us how amazing that access can be.
Last year, Rob Leibowitz took a trip to Disney World with his family. While wandering the Florida theme park, the 60-year-old New Jersey native wore a seasonably-appropriate t-shirt. But he wasn’t wearing it simply to stay cool under the Orlando sun, he chose it specifically to appeal to the massive crowds at the park in the hopes of locating a good Samaritan.
On the back of his t-shirt was a phone number, his blood type, and one simple statement: In need of a kidney.
Leibowitz has had kidney problems since he was a kid, and now that he’s a father, he wants to do whatever he can to extend his life so he can spend more time with his family. So he sported the t-shirt in the hopes of attracting a donor.
Rocio Sandoval saw Leibowitz at the park and asked if he could snap a photo to share on Facebook. Within 24 hours of posting the photo, it reached 30,000 shares. More importantly, it worked!
One of the people who saw it was Richie Sully, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who saw the photo while donating blood to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey.
He quickly reached out, and after confirming he was a match, Richie took time off work to fly to New York and get to know the man whose life he was considering saving.
“We walked around Manhattan for like six hours and we had sushi and he took me to Times Square. And we talked about music and about being dads and things like that. And really hit it off,” Richie said. In late January, the pair underwent surgery and Richie transferred his kidney to his new friend.
What do you do after a successful kidney transplant? You go back to Disney World! Which is exactly what the two men plan to do, and they’re inviting Rocio Sandoval, who shared the image that saved Leibowitz’s life.
Thank god for social media!