A small act of kindness by Hoda Kotb has become a gesture "impossible to put into words" for a woman who lost her close friend to breast cancer last year.
An Instagram account called @overheardcelebs that posts anonymous recollections about the interactions of everyday people with celebrities shared a heartfelt story on Monday by a woman grateful to the TODAY co-anchor for her empathy during a difficult time.
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The woman wrote that before one of her close friends died at 34 from breast cancer in March of 2019, Hoda had sent a heartwarming video message to the woman with cancer after being contacted through a friend.
"It meant the world to her, especially given the fact that Hoda was a breast cancer survivor herself," the woman wrote on Instagram.
Three weeks after her friend's death, the woman was getting a manicure when she saw Hoda was also getting her nails done at the same spot. The woman approached her and thanked her for the video message Hoda had made for her friend.
"When Hoda asked how she was doing, I burst into tears," the woman wrote. "Before I knew it, she was hugging me as if I was a long lost friend she just reunited with. I thanked her for her empathy."
Hoda recalled the encounter on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna on Tuesday.
"You know what's funny, I do remember because I remember not knowing that her friend had passed," Hoda said. "I knew her friend had cancer at the time and when I asked how she was doing, I remember she told me that she had passed away, and it was so jarring.
"I remember being in that nail salon with her, and you feel like when someone's in pain, you want to do something, and you're just sitting there with your hands in a thing. I didn't know what to do to help, but she was so sweet. What a sweet person."
What Hoda didn't also mention is that when the woman went to pay for her manicure, the receptionist told her there was no need because it was already paid for. She showed her a receipt with "Today Show" handwritten on it.
"Apparently the receptionist had no idea who Hoda was, so she told her, 'Just say the Today Show lady paid for it,''' the woman wrote. "What that meant — not just to me, but everyone who lost our dear friend — is impossible to put into words."
As @overheardcelebs noted, Hoda's story was "one of the good ones" on an Instagram account that also features some unpleasant encounters with celebrities.
"I think some of them aren't that great," Jenna Bush Hager said on TODAY. "Of course yours is, and we all know that you always practice what you preach."