Good Samaritan who got hotels for homeless during Chicago polar vortex gets $50K on 'Ellen'

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(WTHR) — After an anonymous good Samaritan gained fame for picking up the tab on hotel rooms for 70 homeless people, she has appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Candice Payne said when the polar vortex hit Chicago last week, she immediately started to think about people without shelter.

"It was a no brainer," Payne told Ellen on Wednesday's episode. "I pick up the phone, and in my mine I'm like 'Okay I can go and charge 20 hotel room son my American Express.'"

Payne said as she was making calls, many hotels did not want to accept her offer because having homeless people stay there "wasn't good for business."

Thankfully, the Amber Inn Motel was eager to oblige and Payne reserved 30 motel rooms. The problem was she wasn't sure how to get the people in need to the motel with a single truck.

She got on social media to share her plan, told her followers she'd pay them if they could help transport people, and the post went viral. Not only did people want to help with transportation, they also wanted to help pay for more rooms.

In the end, Payne and her followers were able to secure 72 motel rooms for five nights, helping 122 people in all.

Ellen surprised Payne with a check for $25,000 from Walmart.

Payne said she has a career in real estate, and has a passion for housing the homeless. She started a nonprofit a couple years ago and plans to use her expertise in real estate to buy multi-units, renovate them, and give shelter to the homeless.

After announcing those plans, Ellen surprised Payne with another $25,000 check to help her efforts.