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Live Blogging: Oprah's Big Surprise

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Free Hugs on OprahWord on the street is that Oprah is giving her audience members cold, hard cash today. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll do our best to live-blog this for you!

Yay! The Free Hugs guy is here! He’s been doing it for 2 years! This is his charity work. He says, “I stood out there for about 15 minutes” before anyone gave him a hug. The security issue was they guards were concerned about liability. Well, that seems to be it for the Free Hugs guy.

Oprah: Today we are witnessing the power of hope in action.

Story of a lady that grew up in southern India. Very poor. A leader in the village offered her family to take care of her and give her an education. Then she was sold into slave labor.

A similar story of a boy growing up in Vietnam who’s father sent him on a boat out to sea so that he wouldn’t be sold to the military. He witnessed terrible things on this boat…I’m not even going to type them. A few days later the boat started to sink, and the people swam to the nearest island.

These two people had similar circumstances…they both were sponsored/adopted and brought to America. No way. These two people met and are a couple – they have 4 kids!

Oprah’s practically taken away my live blogging job. You can find many details of the show, with photos, here.

Oprah: Don’t you see that anything is possible? Rani and Trong were married before they even found out about their similarity of experiences as children. Rani had been with her adopted mom for 8 years and then her adopted mom died of cancer, when Rani was 16 years old. She was left to raise herself.

Trong was 9 years old when his father put him on a boat by himself. After the shipreck, he lived in a cave alone. He was later discovered and put into a refugee camp.

Now they have their own successful business of building luxury homes in Olympia, WA. The profits go to building shelters for victims who have been abused. The organization is called The Tronie Foundation.

Ok, next guest, Cory Booker. Current Mayor of Newark, Booker lost in 2002, but four years later, won. “I rented a room next to a drug dealer…” Booker is trying to make Newark a safer, better place. He lives in the projects, no hot water, etc…he’s been there for 8 years. Why? “My parents told me that this country needs people to fight for it…I wanted to find a place that needed it.” Got their crackhouse torn down, slumlord arrested, etc. “Greatest American heroes, live in the toughest neighborhoods, don’t give up.”

Gosh, can you imagine if all politicians lived in the “tough” neighborhoods…how fast they would improve? They reference this NY Times article recently written about him. He’s been in office 100 days now. Wants to take a place like Newark and show that it can become an American dream. “We are going to make Newark, NJ the national example of urban renovation (?).” Sorry guys, I can’t remember the last word, but if it’s not renovation, it’s similar!

Faith the Dog on OprahGet ready, because it looks like we’ll be seeing this dog in a minute! Faith the dog only has her two hind legs…OMG seriously they taught her how to walk like a human. Watch the video. Ohhh…! When Oprah was on a trip in South Africa, a little girl came up to her and said, “I loved your show with the dog with two legs because he made me believe I can do anything.”

Okay the big “surprise” is coming up next…the whole reason I’m watching you, Oprah!

This is “the best gift I can give this audience”. “Everyone is getting a chance to do something really extra-ordinary: for others.” Each member of the audience (over 300 people) is getting $1000. “You’re going to open your heart”…”you have to spend the money on somebody other than your family.” They can spend it all on one place, or dollar by dollar. To document the gifts everyone gets a DVD Handycam. They have one week to come up with a plan and shoot your own story. (Money from Bank of America.)

What would you do with the money?

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