Amazing Emeka reflects on $100K surprise
The Tulsan was shocked to receive $100,000 live on The Ellen Show.
Emeka Nnaka and Ellen DeGeneres on “The Ellen Show, which aired Nov. 1
At press time, nearly a million people had watched the video of Tulsan Emeka Nnaka being surprised on an episode of “The Ellen Show” that aired Nov. 1. A few weeks after returning home from his TV appearance, Nnaka confirmed his visible shock was genuine.
“I thought I was visiting the ‘Ellen’ studio to record a series for her YouTube channel,” he says. Instead, he was taken before a live audience and given $100,000 as part of Ellen DeGeneres’ and Cheerios’ “One Million Acts of Good” campaign partnership.
In August 2018, Nnaka wrecked his van that allows him to drive himself. Then, his apartment was destroyed by a fire, and his father, who lives with him, broke his ankle. More than 50 Tulsans wrote to DeGeneres to tell her about Nnaka’s hardships. With the generous donation, he was able to move into a new apartment and buy a new vehicle.
Prior to his appearance on the show, Tulsans also crowd-funded more than $25,000 for Nnaka, who has become a Tulsa icon since overcoming a spinal cord injury sustained in 2009 while playing for the Oklahoma Thunder semi-professional football team.
“I am a resilient person because I live in a resilient city,” Nnaka says. “I tell people, ‘I am not a guy that overcomes adversity by myself.’ I am a product of the light of this city because when I was in a dark time, it shined light on me.”
Nnaka, a motivational speaker, is working on his first book. In December, he returned to “The Ellen Show” and received another surprise from DeGeneres: $20,000 for Youth Services of Tulsa, where Nnaka volunteers mentoring at-risk youth.