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Tesla gives VIP experience to a top customer fighting cancer, meets Elon Musk and Franz von Holzhausen

Tesla has quite a strong base of “super customers” who own many of their products and follow the company closely. Matthew Chan is one of them.

After being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last month, his friend Alan Miller set out to give him a Tesla experience of a lifetime and it’s fair to say that Tesla delivered.

Alan wrote in a Facebook post yesterday:

“I asked Matt what he wanted to do when I went to visit him. In typical Matt fashion, he listed a bunch of boring stuff (watch Blade Runner 2049, relax on the couch after chemo, etc.). I told him that was unacceptable and he had to think bigger. He said “well if I could meet JB Straubel or Franz Von Holzhausen I’d give you my next born.”

JB Straubel is a Tesla co-founder and currently the company’s Chief Technology Officer at the automaker and Franz Von Holzhausen is a famed car designer leading Tesla’s design team since the Model S.

Matthew’s friend launched a social media campaign to make it happen and soon after, Tesla reached out to arrange a special VIP tour of the Fremont factory for Matthew, his friends, and family.

Alan described the experience:

“A VERY personal factory tour by Adam, Tesla’s VIP tour guide. Adam could not have been more accommodating. We went to places in the factory not taken on normal tours and Matt got to touch and feel the parts. We got to see the bodies being mated to cars, the robots building and welding the cars. We saw the batteries being raised into the underbelly of the car and met the team members on the production line. The people who built Matt’s cars. Matt was in awe. His sister, Danielle Chan Chai and her husband Billy Chai and I were in awe.”

Tesla offers tours of its factory to owners, but it sounds like they had special access that is not part of the normal tours.

Unfortunately, JB Straubel couldn’t meet them due to a scheduling conflict, but Matthew got to meet Franz von Holzhausen:

“Franz sat for an hour and talked to Matt about his design philosophy of all the cars. About how he went from paper to computer to reality of his designs and how his goal is to “make people fall in love with the car, but they not know why.” Details of designing the feel and flow of the interior. Why when you charge there is no traditional gas cap. How the car made him feel when he sees it and the team philosophy alive at Tesla. It was truly a magical moment to see Matt soaking up every word Franz said and as a non-Tesla owner/geek I just felt like going out and buying one because you could hear and feel that Franz and his team had put every fiber of their creative beings into designing and building this car and they really wanted it to be not just good, but the best.”

Alan shared images of the meeting on Facebook:

Tesla had one more surprise planned for Matthew. Alan continued in his post:

“Elon Musk appeared from his Tesla and walked straight over to me (until I pointed him in the correct direction of Matt). He was very polite and cordial and spoke to Matt for a few minutes. Matt then gave him a gift of wine (thanks Colleen Gerke!) he had for everyone who helped make it happen and we got a few pictures and he disappeared into the large, humming Tesla factory.

We were all shellshocked and stood there for a few minutes trying to process what had just happened. Our driver, Rob Temmerman, who works at the Tesla showroom summed it up best when he corrected me. I said “Wow. That was a one-in-a-million moment that we all just had.” Rob then said, “No, that was one-in-a-billion moment. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Alan captured the moment when Matthew met Elon Musk:

Electrek’s Take

It’s heartwarming to see his friends and Tesla put this experience together for him.

And to be fair, Tesla generally doesn’t publicize those things. We originally got an email from a reader about Alan’s effort to make this happen. Like many others, we shared it with Tesla and now this post is based on Alan sharing the experience on Facebook.

A similar situation happened last month when Tesla arranged for a special delivery of a Model 3 to a terminally-ill customer.

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