On April 22, 2018, Nashville native James Shaw Jr., 29, heroically sprang into action at a Tennessee Waffle House to wrestle a gun away from a crazed gunman and prevent further bloodshed.
Shaw, now known as the “Waffle House Hero,” has been overwhelmed by the flood of praise and gratitude from those he saved, their families, and even plenty of strangers who simply saw the heroism in his actions.
Among those hoping to recognize Shaw’s courage was none other than Ellen DeGeneres.
Ellen invited Shaw onto her show on May 2, and naturally, she had a few surprises for him.
But first, she asked him how he felt about his “hero” title.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” he said. “It’s just if you’re in that same situation, I want you to know that a regular guy did it, and I want you to emulate that same thing, and know you have that fire inside yourself.”
Later, Ellen and Shaw discussed a GoFundMe campaign that strangers started for him and his daughter totaling $205,000.
After announcing the fundraiser total, Ellen explained that Shutterfly, the sponsors of her show, wanted to add $20,000 onto the total.
Shaw was shocked as he was presented with the $225,000 check then and there.
With one last surprise in store, Ellen began asking Shaw about his two favorite things in the world. His first answer was his daughter Brooklyn, and his second was basketball.
When asked who his favorite player was, Shaw said Dwayne Wade, because he “likes the way he carries himself off the court.”
“Let’s see how he carries himself out here,” Ellen responded as she welcomed the basketball star to the show to surprise Shaw.
“I know you don’t want to be called a hero, but I look at you as an American hero,” Wade said to him.
“When I sit down with my kids, and I talk to them about role models, who I want them to look up to, I would tell them to look up to James Shaw, Jr.”
When Wade asked what Shaw hoped would “come from all this,” he answered that he hoped to bring awareness to mental health issues.
“It’s a public health problem that we have,” Shaw said. “It’s a mental health problem that the United States as a whole has. 1 in 5 individuals in the United States suffer from some kind of mental disorder. That’s close to like 45 million people.”
And although Ellen was finished with her surprises, Wade brought out one of his own for Shaw.
“I have a gift for you, if you don’t mind,” Wade said as he handed Shaw another $20,000 check.
Shaw was completely blown away, and although he still doesn’t consider himself to be a hero, his selflessness and bravery to lay down his life for others certainly makes him deserving of the title.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.