Ellen DeGeneres made an Orlando shooting victim’s dreams come true Wednesday when she surprised him by bringing Katy Perry onstage after he shared his emotional story.
Before the big moment, Tony Marrero told the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” host that he’d listened to Perry’s hit, “Rise,” while he was recovering from injuries sustained in the June 12 Pulse nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead.
Still, he wasn’t quite prepared for what happened once Perry appeared before him. The pop star was visibly shaking when she and Marrero hugged, as seen in the video clip above. “I’m happy to be a joy. I’m happy to be a light and I’m happy I could be there in my own little way to help you,” a teary-eyed Perry told Marrero.
As it turns out, the sentiment was mutual. “I just want to say thank you for everything you do. Your lyrics to that song helped me from the day that I was in the hospital until now,” Marrero, who was shot four times in the back, said.
Perry had an even bigger surprise in store for Marrero at the conclusion of the interview, offering to pay for his first year of film school.
It was, by all means, a heartwarming gesture that lived up to the empowering message of Perry’s biggest hits.