Hoda Kotb is teaching her daughter to pay it forward.
The TODAY co-anchor revealed the sweet tradition she shares with her 3-year-old daughter, Hope, during an interview Jan. 9 with Mel Robbins as she kicked off the third season of her podcast, “Making Space with Hoda Kotb.”
“Well, yesterday I took my daughter to dinner because we have a date,” Hoda said. “And when we go out, we pick somebody in the restaurant who we’re gonna buy their meal.”
She added that she and Hope keep their act of kindness completely secret.
“My daughter gets to pick because we don’t say a word. Nobody ever knows. That’s how we do it,” she said.
Hoda, who is also mom to Haley Joy, 5, described how Hope picks the person they will help that day.
“So she goes, ‘OK, Momma, how about her? She’s sitting by herself.’ I said, ‘That’s the one.’ So we do our thing and we leave,” Hoda said. “And she always says, ‘Can we say something?’ I said, ‘No, we can’t. That’s the magic. Like, it’s like a magic trick.’”
For Hoda, it’s important to show kindness to others without necessarily seeking praise or gratitude in return.
“I tell my daughter that sometimes we just do things to help,” she said.
Hope’s big sister, Haley, also loves performing acts of kindness for others. Hoda revealed that over the summer, Haley saved up her chore money to buy an ice cream cone for Mo, a man who runs a neighborhood restaurant.
“She took her money out of her Ziploc and she got the biggest hug,” Hoda said. “Afterwards, we sat down — Hope, Haley, me and Mo and he said, ‘Do you know why this cone is extra special today?' And Haley said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because it’s my birthday.’”
The proud mom added that both Hope and Haley have generous spirits.
“Hope does kind things daily,” Hoda said. “If you had one blueberry in your hand … and you said, ‘Can I have that?’ She would say, ‘Yes, please, this is yours.’ Like she’ll give it away.”
Hoda, who co-parents her daughters with ex Joel Schiffman, opened up recently about the joy of creating new memories and traditions with the girls — especially during this past holiday season, now that her daughters are old enough to get excited about Christmas.
“I don’t think there’s anything better, sorry, than when your kids are looking out the window looking for Santa,” Hoda said in December. “‘Was that him? Was that a shooting star? Was that Santa? I saw a red dot, is that Rudolph?’ All those cool magical things — they remind you of just the wonder of being a kid.”