From Bird Strike to Hope: The Story of Moe Ricks’s Optimism in the Face of Tragedy

In July 2019, staff wheeled Maurice (Moe) Ricks into surgery to prep him to receive a new heart and kidney, which were on a plane to Gainesville, Florida. The plane struck a flock of birds shortly after takeoff, rendering the left engine disabled. Pilots made an emergency landing at an airport near Atlanta. Despite everyone’s best efforts to quickly secure another flight to Gainesville, Moe’s new heart and kidney never made it to him. But that’s when a different kind of healing took place, one Moe describes as “healing for my soul.” Art sprang from tragedy, providing Moe a unique perspective on what it means to hope and persevere in the face of tragedy. Watch Moe’s story and see what care can mean at UF Health.

Download the song Waiting

Download the song (mp3 file)


  • Ricky Kendall, Musician in Residence
  • Michael Claytor, Musician in Residence
  • Andrew Hix, Writer in Residence
  • Moe Ricks
  • Dr. Edward Staples
  • Diana Andersen-Davis, RN