Tony Marrero, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, was not expecting to receive this huge surprise after he shared his experience withEllen DeGeneres on her show.
Marrero and his friend Luis Vielma ventured out to Pulse nightclub on the same evening in June when Omar Marteenopened fire and killed 49 people. While Marrero miraculously survived being shot four times in the back, Vielma was among those who were fatally injured. DeGeneres learned of Marrero’s story and wanted to lift his spirits by welcoming him on the show to give him the surprise of a lifetime.
DeGeneres recalled that Marrero listened to Katy Perry‘s “Rise” while recovering, both physically and emotionally, from the tragedy and managed to bring the singer to the show to meet him in person. Perry and Marrero shared in an emotional embrace before he told her how much her music has impacted him.
“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 all the way to now. You’re amazing,” Marrero told Perry.
“We’re both lights,” concluded Perry.
Perry had one more surprise up her sleeve to help Marrero fight forward.
“I heard that you want to go to film school, so I personally want to pay for your first year at film school,” revealed Perry.
Watch Perry and DeGeneres surprise Marrero in the video below and listen to Marrero’s story in its entirety in the video at the top of the page.