Ellen DeGeneres Shocks Waitress Sarah Hoidahl With $10,000 Check; Why Did Talk Show Host Give Such A Generous Gift? [VIDEO]

By McCarton Ackerman October 20, 2013 12:01 PM EDT
Ellen DeGeneres has given away a major gift to a waitress who picked up the tab of two soldiers during the government shutdown (Photo: Reuters)
Ellen DeGeneres has given away a major gift to a waitress who picked up the tab of two soldiers during the government shutdown (Photo: Reuters)

Ellen DeGeneres is known for giving away crazy gifts, but she may have donated one of her most generous checks yet. The talk show host gave a $10,000 gift to waitress Sarah Hoidahl, who paid the tab of two soldiers who were out of work during the government shutdown. The waitress Hoidahl was flown out to L.A. to meet DeGeneres, where she gave away the $10,000 gift to the New Hampshire waitress.

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Speaking to DeGeneres, 21-year-old single mom Hoidahl said she was inspired to pick up their tab after hearing the two women express concern about prices for their meal due to the government shutdown. Instead of a check, the waitress gave them a note at the end of the meal. "Thanks to the government shutdown the people like you that protect this country are not getting paid, however I still am," she wrote. "Lunch is on me thank you for serving ladies! Have a good day!"

Waitress Sarah Hoidahl started crying after receiving a $10,000 check from Ellen DeGeneres. (Photo: Reuters)
Waitress Sarah Hoidahl started crying after receiving a $10,000 check from Ellen DeGeneres. (Photo: Reuters)

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The women posted the note on their Facebook page and it immediately went viral, eventually reaching the attention of DeGeneres. The talk show host immediately squared away the tab by giving Hoidahl the $27.75 back for their meal, but DeGeneres went much further with her gift giving. She also gave the waitress a 50-inch television and a check for $10,000. As Hoidahl buried her face in her hands and started crying, DeGeneres repeatedly told her, "You're a good person."

DeGeneres is known for routinely giving away huge gifts to fans and audience members, culminating in her "12 Days of Giveaways" during the Christmas season. Her most luxurious gift giveaways include a $2,000 Michele Tahitian ceramic watch, flat-screen televisions, hotel stays and cruise vacations.

Ellen DeGeneres has long established her reputation as one of the most generous stars in Hollywood. (Photo: Reuters)
Ellen DeGeneres has long established her reputation as one of the most generous stars in Hollywood. (Photo: Reuters)

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The talk show host is also extremely generous when it comes to giving away money to charity. She is an active supporter of The Gentle Barn, a home and hospital for animals that have been abused. DeGeneres also supports the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund through the American Red Cross and teamed up with Ben Affleck to launch the "Small Change Campaign" to benefit Feeding America.

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