Orlando shooting: Katy Perry offers to pay survivor's college tuition
Man who escaped Pulse massacre meets the pop star whose music inspired him
Pop star Katy Perry made an Orlando nightclub shooting survivor's day by surprising him with a meeting – and an offer to pay for his college education.
Tony Marrero, a 30-year-old theme park worker, appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about the June massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, when he was shot four times by Islamist gunman Omar Mateen.
While talking with DeGeneres, Marrero mentioned that Perry's music, particularly the empowerment anthem Rise, had helped him keep his spirits up while recovering from his injuries.
"Every word of that song is powerful, so I embraced it," Marrero said, admitting that his frequent playing of the song had begun to annoy his boyfriend.
As they discussed the impact that Perry's music had had on him, DeGeneres called "Katy!", prompting the songstress herself to emerge from the wings, to the delight of both Marrero and the screaming studio audience.
Marrero couldn't hold back his emotion as he came face to face with his musical idol, who greeted him with a hug and quickly became emotional herself.
"I just want to say thank you," Marrero said, telling Perry: "The lyrics to that song helped me from the day I was in the hospital all the way to now."
Perry was equally gracious, calling Marrero an "inspiration", before bowling him over with an offer to help make his dreams come true.
"I heard you're a creative, like me," she said. "And I heard that you want to go to film school, so I personally want to pay for your first year."
It's an unconventional scholarship, but certainly a well-deserved one. "I'm happy to help you in my own little way," a tearful Perry said.