The holidays came early for first-grade teacher Julie Patel from Quincy, Massachusetts.
She thought she was going to enjoy a taping of Day 1 of the “12 Days of Giveaways” on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in Burbank, California, but instead found herself onstage with the host.
Overcome with emotion, she watched live as her Parker Elementary School students back in Massachusetts received backpacks filled with supplies and the 2014 Wells Fargo plush pony, El Toro.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all? A $25,000 check from Wells Fargo for her school ― a moment that followed DeGeneres recounting how Julie had spent thousands of dollars of her own money on supplies, shoes, clothes, food, and other personal items over the years to help her students.
“I love what I do and I feel like there’s no better job than to bring out the best in little people, and to spread joy, and to make them happy,” Julie said on the show.
“The most important job,” added DeGeneres.
The Wells Fargo stagecoach appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Dec. 22 filled with Toys for Tots gifts. It was the second time this year that Wells Fargo and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” had teamed up to honor a teacher whose selflessness improved students’ lives. In May, the show surprised New Hampshire teacher Amanda Eaton.
“We had such great feedback from our work with ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ last spring, and knew that teaming up with her to celebrate the holidays would be another terrific opportunity,” says Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo’s chief marketing officer. “Seeing all those smiling faces on the students, and the joy it brought Julie ― a true hero whose everyday acts of love make a huge difference in her classroom and community ― was a great reminder of what the holidays are all about.”
Wells Fargo made a return appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Dec. 22, featuring a Wells Fargo stagecoach loaded with more plush ponies and other presents for Toys for Tots, the Marine Corps fundraiser that works with community nonprofits to supplement local toy drives and provide toys needy families at Christmas.