The Story:

In May of 2014, Renee Finney, single-mom to 3 children; Karries, 25, Davion, 18 and David, 15, passed away after a 42 year battle with cancer.  Her children did all they could to raise funds to cover their mother’s funeral expenses, but were already financially stressed due primarily to medical expenses.  A friend of Renees’ suggested the children write notes to their mama and attach them to balloons for a memorial release. They did so, and the balloons traveled 30 miles and ended up on Yvette Melton’s doorstep.  Yvette did her research, and together through the generosity of her fellow employees and a go-fund-me page she set up, the money was raised to cover Renee’s burial expenses. A friend of Lindas’ heard this story and passed it along to  Linda who was then able to connect with Karries and make arrangement to give the family a headstone for Renee.  The Finney family nominated Linda for an award as a thank you award  on the  Steve Harvey show.  February of 2015, Linda, Yvette and all 3 children had a meeting full of surprises on the Steve Harvey show.  Below are Linda’s personal reflections of that day.

Embarrassing confession. I didn’t know who Steve Harvey was. I really didn’t. When the Producer called to invite me to the show, I quickly texted my sister and asked, “Who is Steve Harvey?” She laughed and said, “Google his name and you’ll find out!” It was a world wind experience.

I flew to Chicago the next day where my sister met up with me for a fun overnight. I was told to wear a solid royal blue dress, which I didn’t have, so after I checked into my hotel we walked the Magnificent Mile hunting for a dress. Ann Taylor had the perfect dress in the window so I snatched it up! The next morning I hopped in the car to head to the NBC studio and met Yvette for the first time in person. She was delightful and we shared our stories about the Finney family. We had a blast in the green room and hair and makeup took hours of prep!

Meeting Steve Harvey on set was crazy. His “people” had the audience jacked up to a fever pitch and I thought Yvette was going to throw up from her nervous. We were introduced and walked out to the set where the audience was roaring and told our stories. Within a few minutes Steve announced his surprise and well, the rest is history.

Steve is bigger than life. His charismatic personality filed the room. What I didn’t expect was what happened when the camera was turned off. He was gentle, present and inquisitive. He listened to the children as they shared their heartbreak. Steve’s eyes revealed his heart when they filled to the brim with tears. His compassion took action when he offered the 2 kids help with an education and mentoring. We were overwhelmed by the generous spirit of Steve Harvey. He’s not a comedian to me. He’s a man of action and he has a tender heart. That part of the story wasn’t made public when the show aired. He didn’t toot his own horn. I will always treasure meeting that Steve Harvey.


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