Ellen’s Change Purse Comes Up Short to Pay Broke Waitress—Then She Says “Bring Mama Her Checkbook”

Making it as single mom can be one tough feat. Balancing the work of two parents on the time, income and energy of one can be exhausting—not to mention, the pressures and difficulties of motherhood as it is.

While working her usual lunch shift at the Ruby Tuesday in Concord, New Hampshire, Sarah Hoidahl had the pleasure of serving two women in National Guard uniform.

They sat at her table, made small talk and asked Sarah for suggestions on a light and inexpensive option for lunch, explaining that with the government shut-down, money was tight because they weren’t getting paid.

The 22-year-old waitress gave them a couple of options, and they ordered lunch.

As she headed back to the kitchen, Sarah got to thinking about how hard it is to navigate living on scarce pay. Being a single mom herself, and working as a waitress to support her son, Ashton, Sarah could completely relate.

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That’s when she decided to “do something good today.” She used her own scarce paycheck to buy the gals lunch!

Sarah wrote a note on the back of their check before delivering it to the table:

“Thanks to the government shutdown, 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!


Incredible perspective from someone who admittedly already has a hard time paying the bills.

One of the women posted a photo of the note on Facebook, and the Internet fell in love with Sarah’s simple and self-less sacrifice.

As it made its way around the web, Ellen Degeneres got her hands on it, which led to Sarah making an appearance on her show!!

Ellen talked with Sarah about the day she bought lunch for the two ladies in uniform, and about her life with Ashton, before paying her back in cash for the $27 dollar lunch.

Of course, that wasn’t all Ellen did for Sarah! Check out the clip below and see how one single mom’s random act of kindness turned into a reward she never saw coming! And as Ellen always says: “Be kind to one another.”

Bri Lamm
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Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.