A Chicago woman’s good deed has been rewarded by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
After Candice Payne paid for what bexcame more than 100 homeless Chicago residents to be housed in hotels during the polar vortex on Jan. 29, she was welcomed to DeGeneres’ talk show Wednesday, where she recalled her selfless act.
“I called my office and told my assistants don’t come in tomorrow, it’s going to be too cold tomorrow. … This is going to be a regular workday in the house,” the 34-year-old real estate broker told DeGeneres on Feb. 6. “And then I started thinking, what about the people who live outside who don’t have a home to go to? And it was a no-brainer.”
She decided she could use her American Express credit card to pay for 20 hotel rooms but then she hit a snag.
“Nobody wanted them, it wasn’t good for business,” Payne says of the dozens of hotels she called around to. “One motel, actually, when I called, it’s the Amber Inn. The manager picked up and said, ‘Absolutely, whatever you need, whatever you want.'”
The motel ultimately was able to have 72 rooms available for five nights for the homeless to stay in after Payne rallied some help from her friends on Facebook.
“We had all types of people. We had pregnant women, we had children, we had disabled people, we had people just out of the hospital from having surgery,” she recalls.
Then, the moment came where DeGeneres announced that Walmart, where Payne went to get supplies like food and blankets for the residents, would be gifting her with $25,000 for her work.
Payne also explained she launched a nonprofit called Action For A Cause to help house homeless individuals. The effort also has a GoFundMe in support of Payne’s efforts, which include flipping homes for homeless people to live in.
And thanks to a phone call DeGeneres put in to Walmart during the commercial break, the big-box retailer cut another $25,000 check for Payne’s cause. In total, Payne had $50,000 in donations for her cause.
Those in the community have been thrilled for the Chicago native.
“This was truly a blessing to this young lady, she and her ministry will be blessed 🙏🏽🙏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽”
“She deserves it well done sister 💚”
“I 100% love what that woman is doing. I’ve in the process of getting my real estate license now because I know there’s a greater purpose on my life.”
“A selfless act yielded a wonderful blessing for her to continue to bless others. 👏🏼🌟✨😊”