One of Houston’s most feel-good stories of Winter Storm Uri received some feel-good recognition on national TV. Ellen Degeneres invited Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale on her wildly populaar Ellen show on February 24 to honor the beloved furniture purveyor for his work in warmly aiding hundreds of Houstonians during the worst of the storm.
Through his two locations, McIngvale was able to shelter some 700 locals and provide 4,000 meals.
“He is the definition of an American hero,” DeGeneres announced in her introduction of McIngvale, who appeared virtually, also adding that he’s “awesome,” and a “great guy.”
In describing the catastrophic events and his immediate response, McIngvale noted that he “woke up to snow and ice everywhere” on Monday, February 15 and quickly called Mayor Sylvester Turner for permission to open his stores as storm shelters. Turner advised McIngvale to wait until roads were safer; Mack opened the shelters on Tuesday, February 16.
When asked by DeGeneres why relief and aid is so important to him, McIngvale responded that his parents raised him with the idea that “the essence of living is giving” and added that he always wants to serve the community in a crisis and be the “first” to act. “It’s our responsibility to step up and take a leading position in the community,” he added, then cut off by a round of audience applause.
McIngvale noted that he and his stores are still working: a recent food disbursement line with Houston food Bank was “three to four miles long,” and that the crisis “just started.”
DeGeneres agreed, then announced that Shutterfly donated $20,000 to McIngvale’s GoFundMe effort. She unveiled a ubiquitous big check, which was met by applause by the audience and McIngvale.
This isn’t the first time McIngvale has been nationally lauded for his Houston-area help. In 2017, locals will recall that McIngvale opened his stores to thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims, even directing his staff to pick up stranded residents at their cars or homes.