Ellen DeGeneres recently surprised a Westlake High School alumnus with a brand new car.
Army Sergeant Shakir Aquill appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show along with his mom, Lashandria Williamson. The two went viral last month when Aquill surprised Williamson, a resource officer at Therrell High School, after having been deployed overseas since 2016.
The video of their reunion touched viewers from all over the world and sparked an outpouring of love and support. Williamson had been vocal about the void she’d felt while her son was deployed. She’d relied heavily on her school community to lift her spirits while he was away.
Aquill’s surprise visit took place during a Therrell High pep rally, involving students and staff in the special occasion. DeGeneres praised Aquill for his sweet gesture.
“That was the sweetest thing you did, that was amazing,” she said.
After interviewing the mother and son about their inspiring story, DeGeneres presented them with two boxes labeled with their names. Williamson received $30,000 to help her pay off debt. Aquill’s box was presented to his mother because he’s technically unable to accept gifts due to his active military status.
Inside were the keys to a brand new Hyundai Sonata. Aquill, visibly overwhelmed, was able to sit in the new vehicle onstage.
DeGeneres has partnered with Hyundai to celebrate people who make life better for communities.
“We think you’re both doing that and we want to make your life better,” she said to them.
Photo Credit: The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Thank you to the Westlake High JROTC for sharing this story with us. Have an inspiring story to share with the South Fulton community? Email us.