Delta Passenger’s Life Saved When Passengers Gave Up Seats For Liver Transplant

A desperate man who needed a liver transplant was able to board a Delta flight thanks to the kindness of strangers. Passengers on the full flight gave up their seats and the patient was able to reach the hospital in time.

Delta Connection CRJ900
Passengers gave up their seats onboard a Delta flight so a man could get a new liver. Photo: Delta

What is the story?

Jon McSorley needed a new liver. He had been on the transplant waiting list for six months with doctors telling him to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Jon was 49 years old and had a young family he would very much like to see grow up, as reported by WCPO Cincinnati. Jon decided to not let his condition get in the way of living a full life.

Little did he know that his luck was about to change for the better.

In June 2019, he was due to attend a conference in Minnesota about the disease he was fighting when get got a voicemail.

“Once we landed, we both turned our phones on,” McSorley said. “We were sitting next to each other. We both looked at each other at the same time in our seats and we were like, ‘Do you have a 513 number with a voicemail?’”

A new liver had been found that was a perfect match for him, but it was back in Cincinnati.

Having just landed in Minnesota, Jon ran to the Delta desk at the airport and asked if they could put him back on the aircraft. He ran across the airport only to discover that the last flight of the day heading back to where he needed to be was full.

But the Delta team was ready to do whatever it would take to save this man’s life.

“We got you. No matter what, we have you,” said Jeanne McMahon, one of Delta’s agents who was helping Jon.

The gate agents asked the waiting passengers who had tickets to give up their seats for Jon but no one came forward.


Delta Air Lines, Beijing Daxing, 2020
Deltas Airbus A330neo will join the A350 at Beijing Daxing by the end of the first half of 2020. Photo: Airbus

A Delta team member decided to have another go and spoke about Jon’s story and how it was a medical emergency. According to the story, 15-20 people offered to give up their seats so Jon could get back in time to the hospital.

Jon was able to fly on that outbound flight back to Cincinnati, undergo the surgery and make a full recovery.

What happened next?

Six months later at the end of the year, Delta and the news team at WCPO organized Jon to meet the gate agents and cabin crew who helped him get on that flight.

The event was quite emotional and if you are looking for an excuse to watch a feel-good story then dive into the video below.

Jon thanked the team at Delta, the doctors, the donor and especially the passengers who helped him get back home and get a literal new lease on life. As Jon’s doctor, UC Health Transplant Surgeon Shimul Shah, said:

“Always have hope. Be prepared for anything. And when things seem like they can’t work out, you gotta muscle up to get it done,” 

What do you think? Would you have given up your seat? Let us know in the comments.