Watch: Ellen Gives $25K Each to Bullied Gay Student and Auto Body Shop Owner
For the premiere episode of the 10th season of her eponymous talk show, Ellen Degeneres hosted a bullied gay teenager whose car was vandalized and the auto body shop owner who repaired the young man's car for free. Then she awarded each one a $25,000 check from CoverGirl.
Last March, gay college student Jordan Addison's car was vandalized with homophobic slurs and the word "die" keyed into his doors. Shortly thereafter, someone shattered Addison's front windshield and slashed his tires. The Roanoke, Virginia teenager drove with the hate-speech scrawled on his car for nearly six months, until the owner of a local auto body shop stepped in.
Richard Henegar Jr., who owns Quality Auto Paint and Body in Roanoke, completely repainted Addison's car, updated the interior and installed a new stereo — all at no cost to the student. Henegar estimated the repairs would have cost around $10,000, but said he believed helping Addison was the right thing to do.
"I just felt compelled to help this young man," Henegar told Ellen. "He did not deserve to be the victim of such a violent hate crime and discrimination of no sort — I don't take kindly to it. It's not nice."
Both men appeared shocked when DeGeneres handed them the over-sized checks, which Addison said will go towards paying down his student loans. Henegar said the money will help support Quality Auto Paint and Body, a company his father founded and invested his life into.