Matthew Chan, MD, a radiologist who was recently diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer had his wish come true last month when he got to meet Franz Holzhausen, Tesla’s lead designer.
The meeting didn’t happen by chance. Chan’s old friend Allen Miller, MD, was planning to visit him after his recent diagnosis, and asked him what he wanted to do while he was there. “Watch Blade Runner 2049 and relax on the couch,” he told Miller. In a viral Facebook post, Miller said that those activities were “unacceptable” and asked him to dream big. So, he said “Well, if I could meet JB Straubel or Franz Von Holzhausen, I’d give you my next born.” Miller had no idea who they were, and asked Chan why he wouldn’t want to meet the face of Tesla himself, Elon Musk. “I want to meet the man behind the man,” Chan said. “The one who is told to get the job done and has to figure out how to do it. Because that’s who I am,” according to Miller’s Facebook post.
Chan is a Tesla fanatic, and owns two cars and has a growing collection of Tesla gear. He also helps run the Electrical Vehicle Association in Sacramento, California. Given Chan’s grave diagnosis, Miller immediately started brainstorming ways that he could introduce his good friend to his idols. He asked around in Tesla fan groups, and received an instantaneous flood of messages and contact suggestions. “At one time I had about 50 separate conversations going and was even getting cryptic calls in the middle of the night with anonymous people calling saying ‘I can’t tell you who I am, but here is JB Straubel’s cell phone - only use it if you can’t find any other way,’” he wrote.
Soon enough, Miller set up a day for them to tour the factory and meet Holzhausen. Staubel was initially onboard to join, but had to cancel last minute due to a scheduling conflict. However, Musk unexpectedly dropped by to meet Chan. Holzhausen spent an hour showing Chan every step of the design process and explaining how he wants his designs to “make people fall in love with the car, but they don’t know why.”
“It was a truly magical moment to see Matt soaking up every word Franz said,” wrote Miller.