Woman Orders Coffee - Gets Kidney
TACOMA, Wash. -- Nearly everyday for the last three years, Annamarie Ausnes has held the same morning routine.
It includes stopping by the same Starbucks and ordering the same cup of coffee - a short drip - from the same barista.
Their relationship didn't go beyond the short exchange, until the day Ausnes mentioned she was on the kidney transplant list and barista Sandy Andersen decided to get tested.
Weeks later, "over handing her a cup of coffee I grabbed her hand and said, I'm a match. And I want to donate to you," said barista Sandra Andersen.
The women both started crying with a long line of waiting customers wondering what was happening.
"The world just stopped," described Ausnes. "It was just her and I for a moment. And I didn't really see the line. It was just that moment in time, that was the turning point for both of us."
The next turn in this story comes Tuesday when both women will check into Virgina Mason Hospital and Ausnes will become the new owner of Andersen's left kidney.
"Life's just too short not to live it, you know?" said Andersen. "So, if I can help somebody else do that, it's a good thing. Annamarie was like 50,000th on the list. That's a long wait when you've got a family you want to live for. So that's my main goal, is to make sure people know this is something they might be able to do."
James Manning couldn't help but overhear this conversation in the hospital waiting room. He needs dialysis five times a week.
"It brought tears to my eyes. Because somebody is going to get life," he told Andersen. "What more can you give than that?"
"What did somebody say?" Andersen replied. "It's the ultimate human connection."
Their brief conversation is one of the blessings Andersen says have been heaped upon her.
She calls herself nothing special -- just a mom, wife and grandma who works at Starbucks. But Tuesday she will do something special for a woman she met over a $1.52 cup of coffee.
Andersen will miss seven weeks of work at Starbucks. To help her with lost wages for that time, go to http://www.Transplantfund.org
If you are interested in learning more about being a living kidney donor, visit http://www.nwkidney.org