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Kind gesture by waitress to furloughed soldiers goes viral
UPDATE: CONCORD, N.H. (AP) A New Hampshire waitress who picked up the lunch tab of two National Guard soldiers affected by the federal government's shutdown has been repaid more than 300 times over by television star Ellen DeGeneres.
Sarah Hoidahl, a waitress in Concord, N.H., just wanted to do a nice thing for the soldiers, so she recently picked up their lunch tab. It cost her $27.75.
On Friday, DeGeneres squared the tab and then some, giving Hoidahl $27.75 in cash and a check for $10,000.
An emotional Hoidahl buried her face in her hands and thanked DeGeneres as the talk show host repeated "You're a good person."
DeGeneres caught wind of Hoidahl's act of kindness when the New Hampshire National Guard posted a picture on its Facebook page. The story spread quickly online, producers saw it and invited Hoidahl to Hollywood.Ellen also gave her a 50-inch television.
-------------------------------------------------------------CONCORD, NH --When a New Hampshire waitress overheard two of her customers saying there were furloughed soldiers she decided to help out.
Her simple gesture of appreciation amid the lingering government shutdown has quickly spread online.
The waitress, Sarah Hoidahl, says it was a typical Wednesday afternoon shift her at the Ruby Tuesday in Concord when two service members came in for lunch and sat in her section.
"They were looking through the menu and trying to decide what to get, and she had mentioned something about the furlough and said 'we're not getting paid,' and I thought oh jeez," she said.
Hoidahl, a single mother of a 15-month-old boy, says she knows how difficult it can be to make ends meet.
"Just thinking to myself: that must really be difficult because just because they income stops, it doesn't mean the bills do."
So, Hoidahl decided to pick up their tab, adding a note on the back of the check to express her gratitude for their service.
The note said:"Thanks to the gov. 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!"
She says the reaction she got from the Guard members was more than she expected.
"I came out and they were our front waiting for me and just, instantly, came up to me and said 'Sarah' and they hugged me. Their reaction was worth everything and I thought I didn't do this huge thing -- I just bought you lunch, but thank you!"
News of her kind gesture quickly spread online when the New Hampshire National Guard posted a picture of Sarah and a copy of her note on their Facebook page.
"I think the most moving thing I saw on Facebook was people saying there should be more people like me in the world. That really got to me."
Hoidahl says she has friends who served in the military and her boyfriend is a marine. She admires what they do for us and says this was the least she could do for them.
"I mean they protect this country and they protect citizens like me so, a nice thing to do."