RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. – It was all thanks to a group of local fans and one very generous celebrity, who came together to celebrate his kindness.
Mike Haynes has worked at the Walgreens at Big Bend and Clayton Road in Richmond Heights for nearly seven years. Known for his friendly and outgoing personality, he is popular with regular customers like Stacy Stahl.
“If you come here, you know immediately who he is,” she said. “He's just the most gentle, kind, warm, energetic … guy in this whole town.”
Before the holidays, Stahl decided she wanted to find a way to thank Haynes for his positivity. She decided to raise money for a gift card, but when she shared the idea with friends, the response was bigger than expected.
“I think that we wake up every day with our own agenda. And our own to do list. And our own struggles,” Stahl said. “And we really don't expect someone to interrupt that with such positivity – but that's exactly what Mike does.”
Stahl said 283 donors raised more than $6,000 for Haynes.
But there was more to come.
“We have to give that positivity back - we have to!” Stahl said.
When talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, learned about Mike her team decided to make the gift even bigger.
“All of a sudden I see people coming in, the cameras, I'm like -- what is going on?” Haynes said Wednesday night.
To his surprise, the Walgreens became packed with friends, customers, and donors. They all came to cheer for Haynes, as the Ellen Show team taped a segment with him. He was told it was a game, where Haynes had to “shop” for various items at Ellen's request in the store. Each item would be worth money.
But after two rounds, Ellen surprised Haynes with a big gift: $10,000 from Shutterfly, in addition the amount Stahl and her friends raised.
“I am so grateful. I am so blessed,” said a stunned Haynes, after the reveal. “I want to thank everybody.”
Haynes, who also cares for his aging mother, said the money will help with the family bills and hopefully allow him to buy his mother something she wants: a nice, big, new refrigerator.
“I wasn't expecting this, not in my wildest dreams,” he said. “I wasn't expecting this,”
You can watch Haynes' appearance on the Ellen Show on Thursday at 3p.m. on 5 On Your Side.