Modern-day fairy godmother Ellen DeGeneres made dreams come true for a military family after their sweet video went viral.
Earlier this month, Vanessa Villegas and her daughter, Ellie, made headlines for a video shared on Twitter that shows Ellie opening a present for her fifth birthday. According to Yahoo, Ellie’s dad, David Villegas, couldn’t be there because he was at Army basic training in South Carolina. To tell his daughter happy birthday from afar, the dad recorded a sweet message to put in a Build-a-Bear stuffed bear dressed like a soldier.
“Hey, baby. Daddy loves you and misses you so much,” David said in the recorded message. “I can’t wait for you to be in my arms again.”
The viral video caught DeGeneres’ eye, and she invited Vanessa and Ellie on her show. Vanessa explained that while David is still away at training, she and Ellie write him a letter every day. That’s when DeGeneres offered something a bit better and gave the family a virtual reunion over a video chat.
DeGeneres also pointed out that the family’s debt was part of the motivation for David to go to basic training. After thanking David for his commitment to the country, she presented the family with a $25,000 check from Shutterfly. Ellie also received several American Girl toys as a belated birthday gift.
Lots of tears later, the parents thanked the host for her kindness.
“It is our pleasure, David,” DeGeneres said. “Thank you so much.”