A Washington, DC, woman who managed a beauty salon always dreamed of owning one, but never thought it would happen through a kidney donation.
Acia Williams says her friend and mentor Chet Bennett had owned the beauty college where she began her career and had always pushed her to go further with her career.
“Everybody loves him, because he’s just a genuine person. He’s always been a giver, and he’s always helpful. He’s had hundreds and hundreds of students,” Williams said.
She found out Bennett was sick in 2018, when he told his friends on Facebook that he needed a new kidney. Williams said the spirit moved her to fill out an application to become a donor.
Williams received the call from the nurse telling her she was a match, then went through a battery of tests before she underwent the transplant surgery on April 9, 2019.
Williams recovered at Bennett’s house during their recovery so both his sister and mother could look after them.
“He was like ‘you need to hurry up and get ready, because I’m going to give you this salon,’” Williams said, adding that they had talked about her buying the salon previously, but she had no idea he would be giving it to her.
Bennett was back at work by September and transferred ownership of the salon to Williams by mid-October, Williams said.
Since then, Williams has been running her new business and preparing for the grand re-opening of A New Image by Acia on Monday.
Bennett had been on dialysis for 14 months and Williams said she did not realize how hard it hit him until she noticed how healthy he looked after the surgery.
“He just looked like a new $100 bill,” she said. “You could just see it instantly.”
Bennett told WLJA that he was grateful to be able to walk his dogs and jog again, so he gave her ownership of the shop as a token of his appreciation.
“I can’t begin to thank you enough for you giving me life, but we can start with you making your dream a reality by having your own salon,” he told WLJA.
Williams is not the first kidney donor to give to someone who is not a relative. A Cleveland, Ohio, woman donated a kidney to a total stranger for her 40th birthday this past year.