The saying goes that the goodness you put into the world will come back to you tenfold.
That’s exactly what happened for Washington, D.C., woman Acia Williams when she decided to donate a kidney to her mentor and longtime friend Chett Bennett last year. As a token of his appreciation, Bennett gifted his mentee with her very own hair salon.
“This is thank you,” he told Williams. “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.”
According to D.C. station WJLA, the shop held its grand reopening Monday as “A New Image by Acia.” Williams is now the proud owner of the business she’s been managing for the last eight years. She told CNN she’s always had dreams of owning her own salon, but didn’t think it would happen like this.
The friends have known each other for nearly 20 years; Bennett is the owner of the beauty college where Williams got her start.
“Everybody loves him, because he’s just a genuine person,” she said of her mentor. “He has always been a giver, and he’s always helpful. He has had hundreds and hundreds of students.”
Williams said she first learned Bennett was ill in 2018 when he revealed he was undergoing dialysis and in search of a kidney. She said she assumed he would get the transplant in no time. However, when things did not happen that way, she decided to step in.
The American Kidney Fund states the average wait time for a kidney from the national deceased donor waiting list in the U.S is about five years, but that can change depending on the recipient’s situation and/or if a living donor becomes available.
Williams called it divine intervention, saying she heard a voice from God encouraging her to be Bennett’s donor. What’s more, it turned out she and her friend were a perfect match.
“God was in my spirit, just like, ‘You’re his match, and you’re going to donate your kidney to him,’” she told CNN.
After determining she was healthy enough to be a donor, Williams and Bennett underwent the transplant surgery in April 2019. They stayed at Bennett’s home during recovery and that’s when he surprised Williams with news he was giving her the salon.
“He was like ‘you need to hurry up and get ready, because I’m going to give you this salon,’” Williams said, noting they had previously talked about her buying the shop.
Bennett was on his feet and back at work by September before handing over the reins to his mentee. The businessman said he’s doing well post-transplant and recently participated in a show at New York Fashion Week.
“He just looked like a new $100 bill,” Williams said of her mentor. “You could just see it instantly.”
Watch more in the video below.