WHAT: A man who got some much-needed good news in the middle of a tough time.
WHO: “Diesel Dave” Kiley of the Discovery Channel series Diesel Brothers and MD Anderson leukemia patient Abel Fonseca.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: It’s rare that a story about a person being treated for cancer qualifies as “great.” Many of the stories that seem heartwarming at first glance often reveal the holes in our social safety net—but this one is unique. Fonseca was being treated at MD Anderson for leukemia when he got a phone call from Diesel Dave Kiley telling him that he won $100,000 in a contest. Contestants needed only to buy an item from their store in order to be entered to win $100,000. Fonseca won, but Kiley didn’t know how much he probably needed that news.
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Kiley, who posts frequent videos to his Facebook page, recorded himself making the call, and it starts out as a fairly standard setup to a bit—he asks Fonseca if he ordered from the website, Fonseca says that he has a t-shirt, and Kiley, to set up the reveal, says, “Are you sure you didn’t order anything else?” He expects Fonseca to say that he didn’t, at which point Kiley will tell him that he ordered $100,000—but Fonseca instead explains that, because he’s being treated for cancer, he doesn’t remember all of his online purchases for the past few months.
Kiley immediately shifts from reality TV huckster to a more empathetic human being, asking Fonseca about the disease and the treatment, and Fonseca tells him that they recently received good news—he’s been matched with a bone marrow donor and, after the transplant, he’s expected to return home to recover with his family. At that point, Kiley tells him he’s got more good news, and reveals that he won the contest.
The conversation gets a lot more emotional from there. Fonseca starts crying, and Kiley follows suit. Regardless of a person’s insurance situation, spending a year fighting cancer is an expensive proposition—there’s lost income, lost opportunities for career advancement, bills that are hard to keep up with, and a need for additional time off while you recover. Money can’t cure cancer, but if you’ve found a donor match and are getting ready to go home, it can make everything else that is going on in your life a lot easier. Kiley seems deeply moved to learn that this phone call he was making to a random contest winner happens to be a potentially life-changing prize for someone who really needs it. The chance to look a bit behind the showmanship of the reality show character and into a moment of genuine connection—built around a piece of pure good news—is, right now, the best thing in Texas.