Sarah Hoidahl, a waitress and single mother from Henniker, N.H., was blown away by the stir her actions created. Little did she know, Ellen DeGeneres was planning to give her an even bigger surprise.

In an interview with Ellen, Hoidahl recalls the day in 2013 that started it all: she was waitressing the lunch shift at Ruby Tuesday in Concord, N.H., when she overheard a conversation between two uniformed members of the National Guard. Apparently, due to the government shutdown, the guardswomen were not being paid and had to adjust their meal choices accordingly. Hoidahl tells Ellen, "That just got me thinking... Jeez, that's really difficult. I'm a waitress and single mother, I know how hard that is."
Rather than stand idly by, Hoidahl paid for the guardswomen's lunches and left them a note thanking them for their service. The guardswomen posted a photo of the note on Facebook, where it went viral. Upon hearing about Hoidahl's generosity, Ellen offered to pay her back for the lunch bill — and then some.

Watch the amazing reveal in the video below, and remember that even the smallest act of kindness can completely change someone's life.