For some of us, the best thing Tinder ever gave us was a bunch of bad first dates and some decent hookups. But for one incredibly lucky woman in Tampa, Fla., Tinder got her a kidney transplant. Who would have ever thought that a dating app would ever save someone's life — or that the app in question would be Tinder, for that matter?
When Rich O'Dea, 43, and Jennifer Thomas, 35, matched on Tinder, they probably never expected that soon one of them would be donating an organ to a stranger. But during the date, the two of them found themselves talking about the wife of one of O'Dea's friends, Erika Bragan, who needed a kidney transplant but had been on a waiting list for years because of difficulty finding a match with her O-negative blood type. After the date, the two decided not to keep seeing each other, but Thomas couldn't stop thinking about the story.
"I felt for Erika," Thomas, who has a 9-year-old son of her own, told People. "I'm a mom and she's a mom and I just couldn't imagine being in her shoes and her children losing their mother. I knew I had to find a way to help her."
Thomas messaged O'Dea saying she wanted to see if she could be a match for Bragan, and he put her in touch with the family. Thomas underwent tests to see if she was a good donor candidate and it turns out that although she and O'Dea weren't a match romantically, she and Bragan were a medical one.
"Jennifer is our angel, she came down from heaven and blessed us!" Erika's husband, Scott told People. "We are so thankful, the planets aligned and Tinder gave her an angel. It's a story you just can't make up."
Erika Bragan is set to receive her new kidney on Nov. 18, and the Bragans now considers Thomas and her son to be part of the family.
Many have been putting Tinder to good use in ways that it wasn't originally intended, including job hunting and trading meal swipes at college dining halls. I have to say, though, of all the strange coincidence and happenstance that Tinder has brought about, this has to be the most unexpected — and the most heartwarming.