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The incredible story of a handyman in Maryland, who risked his own life to help a neighbor in need, may not have happened if not for a random act of kindness six years earlier.
It all started at a bus stop in Gaithersburg, Maryland, six years ago when Doug Shumway did an extraordinary thing.
“I happened to notice somebody standing at the bus stop. It was a winter day, and I realized, you know, I could give this person a ride,” Shumway said.
That person was Dan Reynolds, who agreed to the ride because 10 inches of snow covered the ground and it was 15 degrees outside. The two men chatted, and Shumway learned Reynolds did contracting work so he hired him to fix some plumbing.
The job took a couple of days, and before Reynolds left, he admitted he was experiencing homelessness. After a divorce and steep debt, he had been living in a van for two years.
Shumway offered him a place to stay.
“That’s just the way we’re supposed to be as people. If you have, you give,” Shumway said.
Reynolds has lived with Shumway ever since. He quickly became a fixture in the neighborhood and began working for other families as a handyman. His clients included Tony Antonelli.
One day, Reynolds was cutting grass at the Antonelli home and noticed he looked unwell. Antonelli told him his kidneys were failing, and he needed a transplant.
“I said, ‘Well, if it’s feasible, I’d be honored to give you one of mine,’” Reynolds said.
“It was a complete shock, out of the blue, and quite frankly, you can’t make that up,” Antonelli said.
Miraculously, the two men were a perfect match. The transplant was completed Feb. 23, and they are now recovering at home.
“There’s a reason Dan is in my life, and that’s to actually save my life. I can’t thank him enough,” Antonelli said.
To help pay for the surgery, Reynolds’ friends organized a GoFundMe, which raised more than $25,000. They also hope his story will inspire others to become organ donors.
“It’s not hard to help each other out, to do things for each other. Pay it forward,” Reynolds said.