10/19/2013 at 10:50 AM EDT
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 paid for their lunch. 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.