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  • Age
    58
  • Occupation
    Flight Attendant
  • Company
    Southwest Airlines
  • Location
    Oakland, Calif.

Dianne Armendariz Keeney is a chatty extrovert; Jainey Norlander, not so much. Jainey is tall and blond. Dianne is short and olive-skinned. But the two Southwest employees (pictured together above, Keeney at right) and their families happened to be sitting together on a flight in February 2012, and Dianne got Jainey’s dad talking. She learned that Jainey, along with her mother and three of her siblings, suffered from polycystic kidney disease. Dianne, who had been with the company only three months, immediately leaned over to her husband and whispered, “I fell like God is telling me to give her my kidney. Is that okay with you?” She and Jainey did not see each other again until the day of the surgery in Phoenix, four months later. Even that June morning, Jainey couldn’t believe it: “This stranger was going to give me something that was going to change my life.” The transplant was a success and in May, Dianne graduated from flight attendant school. When it came time for Dianne to receive her wings at graduation, there was little doubt who would pin them on.

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