By Amanda Wicks
Ellen DeGeneres loves surprising her guests—whether they’re celebrities or everyday people–and she had one powerful moment for a Pulse Nightclub survivor on her show today (September 8). Tony Marrero, who survived the June massacre at the Orlando nightclub, turned to Katy Perry’s single “Rise” to help him recover. “Have you met Katy yet?” DeGeneres asked him. “You wanna meet Katy?” What followed was an emotional introduction.
Related: Katy Perry Releases ‘Rise’ Remixes
The moment was designed to be a momentous one for Marrero, but it ended up impacting Perry as well. As soon as he turned his head to see Perry walking toward him, Marrero began tearing up, which started Perry crying as well. “I’m like shaking right now,” she admitted as she sat down. “We’re both shaking. We’re both electrified by each other and so inspired.”
Perry also found another way to impact his life. She offered to personally pay for his first year at film school.
Marrero recounted the horrifying night when he suffered five gunshot wounds, but somehow made his way to the door where he received police assistance. He was technically dead en route to the hospital, but like Perry’s song he rose to recover. His best friend Luis, who was with him at the nightclub, did not survive.