Everyday Heroes

Woman Donates Kidney To Bus Driver’s Wife

You have to hear the amazing series of coincidences that made it all possible.


In a story to file under "things that are hard to believe, but absolutely true," a woman recently gave her kidney to the wife of a complete stranger – all thanks to a spur-of-the-moment bus ride.

Joyce Smith boarded Rex Scott's Brew Tour Bus in Indianapolis, IN with three of her closest friends. They were doing the tour as part of her best friend Heather's bachelorette party. While the group was happy to be celebrating together, they were only taking the tour because their initial plans fell through.

That's Joyce, second from the left. WISH-TV

Also, Rex wasn't supposed to be driving that day. He stepped up when a co-worker got sick.

After the tour, Rex joked that while he didn't take cash tips, he would take a kidney. Turns out, his wife, Valerie, was in need of a transplant. She had been dealing with polycystic kidney disease for almost seven years. Her kidneys were growing to about double the size they should be, and they were starting to lose their function.

Here's Rex Scott and his wife, Valerie. Rex Scott/Facebook

When Joyce heard about Valerie, she knew she had to get tested to be her donor.

Joyce's own father received a life-saving organ transplant when she was young, and she, along with her husband, currently take care of nine children – one underwent a kidney transplant operation six years ago.

Adding to that, Joyce was in line to be a donor for Heather, the bride-to-be, and had already been tested for viability numerous times. Unfortunately, Heather already had one transplant and still isn't healthy enough to be on the list for another operation.

Heather, to the left of Joyce, is also in need of a transplant, but is too sick to be on the list. WISH-TV

Turns out, Joyce was a perfect match for Valerie for both blood type and six antigens, and since her window was closing to be a donor, it was perfect timing.

"If he had not made that joke, none of this would have happened," Joyce told WISH-TV.

After the initial shock wore off, Rex and Valerie admitted they were nervous that Joyce might change her mind about giving up her kidney. Joyce, on the other hand, never doubted she was doing the right thing.

"Because the day I decided to give it away was the last day it was mine," Joyce said. "I'm just holding onto it for someone else at that point."

Joyce and Valerie chat after the surgery. WISH-TV

To add to the seemingly perfect twist of fate, the surgery took place on Martin Luther King Day – and the sentiment wasn't lost on either party.

"Of all the sacrifices to give someone on a day like that, it's just amazing," Valerie said.

How can you start something good?

Inspired by Smith's incredible act of kindness? If you're not already signed up to be an organ donor, click here to register with Donate Life America.

There are many ways to save a life while you're still living, by giving a part of yourself. You can give blood, become a living donor or register to be a bone marrow donor.


Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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