Ellen: Billie Smith Surprise
Ellen DeGeneres has a surprise for a woman in the audience, Billie Smith, a working mother of three from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. She is an Air Force veteran, and it was in the service that she met her ex-husband, the father of her three children.
Billie lost her job in 2011, and since then has lost her car. She doesn’t have cable TV, and she watches Ellen using a rabbit ear antenna. She wants the best for her children, but right now she’s struggling to put food on the table, much less pay for field trips and school book fairs.
She wants to pursue cosmetology and is hoping to start school in May 2012 .”I almost feel like a rocketship, just waiting for the chance to blast off,” she said. “I feel like I’m just almost boiling over.”
Billie loves Ellen’s huge heart and gets a little hope each day from the show and its positive spirit. Ellen invited Billie to chat with her on the stage, which you know means this mom is going home with prizes galore.
Ellen: Billie Smith Job Search
Before being laid off in 2011, Billie Smith traveled and worked as a trainer for a few dozen pharmacy stores. But her children are what keeps her going. “We love to laugh. We play around all the time,” Billie sad. She misses her kids when they’re at school during the day, but she does get to watch Ellen’s show in the meantime.
To help improve the rabbit ears TV situation at Billie’s house, Ellen surprised her with a giant roll of tinfoil, to improve the TV reception. But the real gift was a new Samsung 32” HDTV and one year of cable service.
Ellen: Billie Smith Cranberry Township, PA
In the meantime, Ellen put the call out for employers in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, ZIP code 16066, who might be able to utilize Billie’s services. To help her bridge the gap until she finds a new job, Ellen threw in $10,000 cash.
This recurring feature of Ellen’s show, spotlighting everyday people who are out of work and need a hand up, is an interesting one. It’s far too slow a process to benefit everyone. At this rate of two per month, Ellen could singlehandedly find jobs for every unemployed American in just 520,000 years. But if she featured these stories more often, the personal stories and emotional resonance would become less effective.
Ellen: 2013 Ford Escape Review
Billie’s three kids, Darius, Aiden, and Ariana, joined her and Ellen onstage for one final surprise. To help her and her family get by, and of course find a job, Ellen and Ford surprised Billie with the 2013 Ford Escape, which has family friendly safety and convenience features.
“You guys cannot eat in this car, ever,” Billie instructed her children, before threatening to pee her pants. That’s not a very gracious way to accept a gift, but I think Billie and her family are going to make it after all.