If you’re showing up in the studio audience of The Ellen DeGeneres show, chances are you’re going to have a good time, even if you’re just bopping along while the guests bust out dance moves. But for one incredibly lucky studio audience, they left with way more than that—they each left with a share of a $1 million gift from Ellen.
Ellen gave the big jackpot to her studio audience to mark her One Million Acts of Good campaign with Cheerios. That day, every member of her audience was a person who was making a difference, including a couple who drove hundreds of miles to deliver supplies after Hurricane Harvey, a teacher who donated a kidney to a student, and a man who quit his job to start an animal sanctuary.
She showed her audience a Cheerios box to commemorate the campaign, and asked the audience members to look for a box under their seats. They all had boxes, which meant they all got to split her prize—of a whopping $1 million. “It’s the biggest gift I’ve ever given anybody, ever, and I hope you continue to pay it forward and share all the good,” Ellen said. The crowd erupted in cheers and screams, hugging each other and crying in happy disbelief. “That’s a lot of money!” Ellen cheered.
It was a week of giving and receiving great gifts for DeGeneres, who just celebrated her 60th birthday. Her wife, Portia de Rossi, gifted her with her own wildlife fund and an institute for research, education, and tourism at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. That profound act of generosity moved Ellen to tears, and now she got to pay it forward herself.