October 04, 2017
Comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres is hoping to highlight some of humanity at its finest in the wake of recent tragedies that have brought devastation to parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico as well as heartache to the friends and families of the nearly 60 people killed and more than 500 injured in Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
During Tuesday's episode of NBC's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the host said that she feels "sad," "anxious" and "helpless" but also stressed the importance of remaining hopeful.
“It’s hard to do a show on a day like this,” she said. “When I wake up [on a day like] today, I think, 'How am I going to do a show?' But it’s also days like this that I appreciate my job more than ever because I get to focus and shine a light on people that do good in the world.”
DeGeneres then aired an eight-minute-long compilation showing some inspirational stories featured on the daytime TV show throughout the years.
The montage highlighted people like Alexander Knoll, of Post Falls, Idaho, who created his own app at the age of 12 for people with disabilities, and Renita Smith, a bus driver from College Park, Maryland, who saved 20 elementary schoolers after a fire enveloped the vehicle.
The segment also opened with the story of Liz Woodard, a Mount Laurel woman and waitress at the Route 130 diner in Burlington County who picked up the check for a couple of firefighters after they finished a long shift fighting a warehouse blaze back in 2015.
She left a note that read:
"Your breakfast is on me today. Thank you [for] all that you do, for serving us and for running into the places everyone runs away from. No matter your role, you are courageous, brave and strong. Thank you for being bold everyday. Fueled by fire and driven by courage – what an example you are. Get some rest!"
The firefighters, Tim Young and Paul Hullings, of the Mount Holly and Hainesport fire departments, found out that Woodard had been trying to crowdfund money for a wheelchair-accessible van for her father, who was paralyzed after experiencing a brain aneurysm.
Woodard was able to raise $80,000 after the duo helped spread the word.
DeGeneres interviewed the three on the show and told the firefighters that their meals at the diner were paid for for the next five years courtesy of Shutterfly, an online photo publishing service. The host was also able to present Woodard with an additional $20,000.
Check out Woodard's original appearance on the show below: