Channeling Your Inner Oprah

Recently I heard a story that made me think of what it would be like to be Oprah.

My friends were about to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. His son and family live in London so they don’t get to see much of one another. A few days before the anniversary, the son called my friends and said he had prepared a big surprise for them. He had arranged for a limo to pick them up and take them to a five star restaurant in Chicago. The son had made all the arrangements for the special celebration.

Anniversary day arrived and my friends got all gussied up in their fancy, dining-in-the-city clothes. The limo rolled up and off they went to the beautiful restaurant. The staff greeted them warmly and presented them with custom printed menus describing the multi-course meal specially selected for them.


Needless to say, my friends were overwhelmed by the generous and thoughtful gift.

But wait, there’s more.

As the anniversary couple was sipping their champagne and perusing their personalized menus, into the restaurant walked the son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.  They had flown in from London and had come directly to the restaurant from the airport.  The entire restaurant staff was in on the plan and were able to slow down the pace of dinner to cover for a slight delay in the flight from London without arousing any suspicion.

There were squeals of delight, hugs and happy tears. If my friends were overwhelmed by the limo and dinner, they were blown away by the surprise appearance of their family and the effort required to make it all happen.

Pretty cool, eh?

It reminded me of the many gifts Oprah bestowed on unsuspecting members of her audience.

I always thought it would be so amazing to be able to surprise someone, grant wishes or make dreams come true on the grand Oprah scale.  Or even on the budget of a millionaire rather than a billionaire.

fairy godmother

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to act as a fairy godmother? Maybe buy a house for your grandparents? Or pay off the student loans of your out of work friend?  Or treat your family to a Mediterranean cruise?

(Since I forgot to buy a lottery ticket earlier this week, I won’t be waving my magic wand anytime soon.)

One regret I have is that I was never able to get tickets to The Oprah Show for my dear mom, a longtime Oprah devotee. I lived in Chicago where the show was filmed yet never cracked the code to secure the nearly impossible to come by tickets.

I imagined sending a limo to her house in Florida, whisking her away to the airport, flying her to Chicago where she would be met by another limo to deliver her to Harpo Studios for a taping of the show and a personal meeting with Oprah. (Hey, if you are dreaming, dream big!)

Oprah Winfrey show

Several times over the years, I attended charity events at which the highly coveted Oprah tickets were an auction item.  Each time, as the bidding sent the price into the stratosphere and out of the realm of possibility, I was happy for the amount of money going to the charity but sad that I missed another opportunity to make my plan a reality. I would love to have been able to do that for my incredible mom who has done so much for me.

There are many ways, big and small, in which we can surprise and honor those we love.  I’d love to hear stories about how you have channeled your inner Oprah. Or how you would if you won the lottery!

But most importantly:

happy bday mom

Photos courtesy of:, and

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  1. I LOVE this! I would like to do something for my husband. He works SO hard and has never really been pampered. A limo to the airport and a vacation to Hawaii would be so awesome! It would be the honeymoon we never had. Of course, since we’re dreaming, we’d stay at the Four Seasons and have massages and room service… 🙂

  2. Great post. I am one of Oprah’s biggest fans. She is coming to Dallas and my Mister got offered 2 tickets. I was so excited and then I realized that I am going to be in Virginia moving my #2 daughter into her dorm room. There are not a lot of people I would give up my chance to see Oprah but my #2 is definitely one of them.
    Love the story about your friend.

  3. I hope to be able to channel my “inner Oprah” someday. In the meantime, though, I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t always take large amounts of money to make people feel good. Sometimes it’s just spending time with them, bringing them an unexpected dessert, babysitting for them, helping them clean up, make repairs, build something, etc. I’m always surprised by how good it feels when I help someone else!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! The small, unexpected, day to day kindnesses really can make a difference in someone’s life. To me that’s what family and friendship is all about!

  4. I think your mom is going to be blown away by what you would like to do for her. Mom’s and girl friends who really understand that it’s the thoughts that count.

  5. Aw! This made me tear up. I cannot imagine how joyous it was to see their family walk in the restaurant. It was a true fairy godmother moment!! *sniff*

    Most importantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your mom!! Your love for her just shines through in this piece! 🙂 –Lisa

  6. Mo I just love stories like this – what a great surprise and fantastic memory for the family!

  7. Oh, boy – that would be so fun! I’ve wished I could surprise people like that, too.

    Visiting from SITS.

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