Ellen DeGeneres loves to surprise guests on her afternoon talk show, but on Thursday’s show, she had a particularly touching delight in store.
Zully Hernandez was selected by DeGeneres to attend The Ellen Show when they met while Hernandez was playing slot machines in Las Vegas. In the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Hernandez’s appearance on the show took on new gravitas, especially considering she is a nurse.
Initially invited to be purely an audience member, DeGeneres invited Hernandez up onstage to discuss the tragedy and what, as a nurse, she advises people can do to help. “We need blood desperately,” Hernandez said. She also acknowledged how moving it is to see how many people are turning out to offer assistance in any way they can. “It sucks that it takes something like this for people to have the courage to do something good for other people,” she added. “I wish it was all the time.”
In addition to Hernandez’s tear-filled account of the scene in Las Vegas, DeGeneres wanted to offer up another surprise. Hernandez lives in Vegas with her 15-year-old son, while her older son attends college in Florida, and her husband works construction in northern California. DeGeneres brought both of Hernandez’s far-flung family members out on stage to surprise the nurse and sing her praises.
During the interview, it was also revealed that Hernandez has family in Puerto Rico, who DeGeneres immediately promised to help as well.
In what has been a difficult week, DeGeneres managed to both reward a deserving audience member and tug at all of our heartstrings. Watch the full video above for more — but do so without tissues at your own peril.