Angel in a Taxi Cab

I saw this inspirational story on the news a few days ago. Here are a few clips from
the Associated Press story:
Rita Van Loenen had no idea that a trip in Thomas Chappell's taxi cab could end up being the ride that saves her life.

"There are better odds of getting struck by lightning," Van Loenen said. "A random taxi driver offering to give me his kidney and all these pieces match. There has to be something behind this. How can this be?"

Chappell, who has been driving Van Loenen to dialysis appointments, shocked the Gilbert, Ariz. woman a month ago by offering to donate his kidney. But even more shocking to her was that doctors found they had the same blood type, that they were compatible.
Interestingly enough faith had a role in story. Here is the way that Thomas Chappell responded:

The Phoenix taxi driver said he was a man of faith and that a higher power wanted him to step in.

"By then, me and the good Lord already had a talk. He said 'Tom, you go give her one. It will work," Chappell said.
An amazing story of how God works in the hearts (and kidneys) of people who follow him. Here are the concluding thoughts from the article:

Van Loenen said that, thanks to Chappell, she can actually make plans for the future.

"Whenever I tell my friends or my family, they just find it so incredible," Van Loenen said. "They do call him an angel. My friend says there's angels everywhere. That's the right way to capture it."
I heard Mr Chappell testify in that TV story.. the simplicity of his faith inspired me.. I have to wonder if I would have been that sensitive and obedient to God's voice.


  1. What an amazing story!

    My dad's wife had a double lung transplant 13 years ago. Without it, she'd likely have be dead for 12 of them. The gift of an organ gave her life, and gave the family of the young man who had died in a car crash an opportunity to ensure that something positive came out of his death... a death that might otherwise have seemed completely senseless.

    For this taxi driver to reach out to a stranger and undergo the surgery in response to God's call... Wow. What a selfless example he set for us.

  2. WOW! I am so glad you shared this. Amazing story.

  3. God really works in mysterious ways

  4. But, um, why did you god allow her to suffer kidney failure in the first place? Mysterious? No, it's downright cruel.

    I'm glad this taxi driver was selfless enough to offer a kidney. What I don't get is why people always credit their god with the good aspects of the story and none of the responsibility for the bad parts. I particularly don't understand the credit aspect when it's this man's goodness that should be thanked, not to mention the skill and knowledge of the surgeons, doctors, nurses, etc. who've spent significant portions of their lives studying and practicing so that can actually make it happen - not to mention all the scientists and researchers who made created the theories, technologies, and techniques that even make such transplants possible. Sure, thank god, because he could have fixed it with an omnipotent snap of his fingers yet didn't.

  5. Thanks for the comment sid. Your perception of God Clause (Santa's older brother) is one that many share. IMO God can choose to heal or not heal a person however He chooses.. even if it is not consistent with the God Clause image that so many share.

    I do wonder if that cab driver would have offered a kidney if he was a humanist :)

  6. Sure Bob. Thanks for letting me comment.

    'God Clause'. That's cute. I'll have to use it sometime if it ever becomes appropriate. But I want to make sure I understand what you mean by it, so correct me if I'm wrong. The God Clause is an all-powerful granter of wishes who's only purpose in existing is to make sure we humans (or at least believers) have health and happiness. No, that's not what I was writing about.

    What I was questioning is why does god get the credit for helping this woman when it was the goodness, time, and effort of humans that made it happen? I ask this especially in light of the fact that god, according to your beliefs, actually could intervene and rightfully be granted the credit.

    It be like if Joe Somebody noticed that a small fire had started on his neighbor's front porch. Know Joe knows a number of things. First, he knows his neighbor works during the night and is home and asleep at this time. Second, he knows that the fire is going to spread and kill his neighbor unless he does something. Third, Joe has a water hose on the side of his own home which he knows he can use to put the fire out right this instant with minimal damage to this neighbor's house and no injury to himself or his neighbor. Instead of doing this, Joe calls the fire department who arrive several minutes later. By then, half of the house has burned and his neighbor is badly but not fatally injured. Furthermore firefighter Mike had to take personal risk and suffer burns himself to save Joe's neighbor.

    Knowing these facts would you say Joe acted in the most moral manner possible? Would you be more ready to thank Joe or Mike for saving his neighbor's life? Who deserves the credit more? Is expecting Joe to put out the fire having a 'Joe Clause' perception of him? Is one who believes that Joe acted immorally expecting too much of Joe and has a simplistic, even cartoonish perception of Joe? Is it even reasonable to Would you defend Joe by just saying he acts in mysterious ways?

    I've asked a ton of questions so it's only fair I answer your implied one.

    "[Would] that cab driver would have offered a kidney if he was a humanist?"

    Probably. The man obviously a strong sense of moral duty. I find it likely that he would have acted on that sense regardless of where the perceived source of that morality.

  7. Last things first sid: maybe you can send me a link to a humanist organ donor story :)

    I think that your fire story presupposes that the purpose of God is to fix man's problems. Why do you think that?

    Maybe a better scenario of your story is that Joe Somebody calls the fire dept on his way over to hose down the fire? Maybe it is Joe and the fire dept working together?

    The heart of your issue seems to be the idea that God works through people. I submit that God even works through people who don't believe He exists.. why else would the proverbial humanist give a kidney to a stranger.. if one indeed would or ever has :)

  8. You're asking me to find a needle in a haystack when Christians are 76% of the US population and humanists are 0.02% (reference). That means for every humanist there are 3,800 Christians. I did find reference to such a person (See Jeanette Levitt (pdf)), but couldn't find an accompanying news story.

    My analogy was not about the purpose of God at all, it was about morality and giving credit for good things. You've answered none of my questions. You've only changed the story to sidestep the issues I bring up. Can you answer the questions without altering the analogy?

    "why else would the proverbial humanist give a kidney to a stranger."

    Empathy, love for a fellow human. We are humanists, after all - the promotion of all people's well being is what it's all about. I must admit that I find the implication that humanists are incapable of moral acts on our own insulting.

    I did find three other stories of living donors who gave to strangers for non-religious reasons. Here is how one of them answered the question "why?":

    "Well, I don't know anyone with kidney disease or in need of a transplant; if I wait til I die to donate, my organs may not be usable for transplant. If I'm willing to donate then, why not now. I certainly would be willing to donate to someone I know, but no one I know needs a kidney so why not give to someone I haven't met yet."

    This is good expression of empathy: she knows the needs of a stranger are just as valid as those of a loved one.

  9. Thx for the push-back sid. Of course I see empathy for others as a gift from our creator.. whether the empathizer acknowledges the gift or not.

    Didn't mean to avoid the questions sid.. really thought they were offered more of a rhetoric nature.

    Maybe you can rephrase your questions in a more direct fashion and not use a Joe Somebody story to ask them?

    And thanks for the stats.. .02%.. did not realize that you were part of such an elite group :)

  10. Heh, we're not quite as elite as those Taoists, though, or as those Eckankars, whatever they are.

    Yeah, I hope that the questions I asked in the analogy would be rhetorical to some extent. But I don't want to assume too much. Are you of the opinion, then, that Joe didn't behave in the most moral manner possible, that Joe doesn't deserve the credit for saving his neighbor, and that having the expectation that Joe should have helped directly is not a simplistic expectation?

  11. Thx for asking such difficult questions sid :)

    Here are my hypothetical answers.. ..Joe seemed to act morally;
    ..I give Joe credit;
    ..expectations usually get me in trouble.

    Now to the question I previously asked:

    I think that your fire story presupposes that the purpose of God is to fix man's problems. Why do you think that?

    Always enjoy the discussion sid.


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