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Why did Ellen give this single mom $10K?

  • 'I was raised to do good for other people,' Sarah Hoidahl told HLN
  • Ellen DeGeneres rewarded her with a $10,000 check
  • Waitress paid for the meal of two National Guard soldiers
Why did Ellen give this single mom $10K?

A recent guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" got the surprise of her life after doing a good deed for two National Guard members she waited on during the government shutdown.

Sarah Hoidahl, a waitress at a Ruby Tuesday in Concord, New Hampshire, decided to cover the tab for two female service members as a way to brighten their day. However, the 22-year-old single mom had no idea what her thoughtful act would lead to.  

"I was raised to do good for other people," Hoidahl told HLN.

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On October 18, Hoidahl was invited to appear on "Ellen" and was not only given back the $27.75 she spent on the soldiers' bill, but was also given a 50-inch Insignia television and a check for $10,000.

The note Hoidahl left in the tab read, “Thanks to the government shutdown, the people like you that protect this country are not getting paid. However, I still am. Lunch is on me. Thank you for serving ladies! Have a good day!”

Hoidahl never mentioned the interaction, but her manager's mother-in-law, who is a chief warrant officer with the National Guard, saw the note posted to Ruby Tuesday's Facebook. It quickly went viral and was shared more than 10,000 times. But that was just the start of Hoidahl's moment in the spotlight, as proved by her "Ellen" moment.

Hoidahl, who lives with her mother and did not own a television, said she plans to put the money to good use.

"My mom and my dad are so proud of me," she told HLN. "I don't have a car, so I can't wait to buy one. And I'm going to put away some of the extra, and give some to charity."

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