Ellen DeGeneres Surprises Kansas Woman Who Bought Out Payless Shoe Store to Help Flood Victims

Since 2017, Ellen DeGeneres and Cheerios have been on a mission to inspire people to spread kindness with their One Million Acts of Good campaign. So it’s no surprise that the feel-good story of Addy Tritt — the 25-year-old Kansas woman who bought out a closing Payless store and donated more than 200 pairs of shoes to Nebraska flood victims — caught the attention of the talk show host.

She invited Tritt to be a member of her studio audience for the taping of her show’s April 22 episode — but little did Tritt know that DeGeneres had an even bigger surprise up her sleeve. “You know what? I’ve always wanted to meet someone from Hays, Kansas, and I just found out someone in the audience lives there,” DeGeneres said midway through the show. “What are the odds of that? And I wanted to meet someone named Addy Tritt, so is there an Addy Tritt here?”

An excited Tritt ran to the stage and hugged DeGeneres as the host heaped praise on her for her good deed. “The reason I called you down here is because you did something really amazing,” DeGeneres told Tritt, explaining to the audience how the recent college grad paid a visit to her local Payless store and negotiated to buy up its remaining inventory for $100, paying only half the cost of the shoes. She then donated the lot, which included more than 160 baby styles and about 40 adult pairs, to victims of Nebraska’s devastating floods.

addison tritt, payless
CREDIT: Courtesy of Addison Tritt

“I think that people need to care more about one another,” Tritt said, explaining what inspired her generous act. “And you care about people [referring to DeGeneres], and I just want to care about people, too. So anything I can do.”

Underscoring the mission of her Cheerios partnership, DeGeneres pointed out that many small acts of kindness can add up to a huge impact. “If we all start doing that, this ripple effect of everybody caring about everybody, it becomes a very happy world out there,” she said.

As an early birthday present, DeGeneres gave Tritt a chance to win $10,000 playing the Holey Roller game, courtesy of Cheerios, in which contestants have one chance to roll a ball into a small mouse-hole opening. Tritt’s roll unfortunately missed the target, bouncing off the board and coming to a stop.

“Aw, no,” Ellen said, before walking toward the ball, picking it up and dropping it through the hole as the audience cheered. Then she handed Tritt $10,000 in cash.

Watch FN’s interview with Toms founder Blake Mycoskie below. 

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