Ellie Karr of Deer Park, Texas, planned on celebrating finishing high school in the spring of 2020 with a trip to New York City to see the hit musical "Hamilton" and stop by the TODAY Plaza — but the coronavirus pandemic changed her plans, like so many other people's.
Her graduation was held over Zoom, and her senior prom was delayed by a year. But the loss of the New York trip cut especially deep.
"Ellie had planned a trip that she'd been thinking about for at least a couple of years, wanting to go to New York City after graduation," said Lisa Brodie, Karr's mother. "For Ellie's senior trip, we had planned to visit the Statue of Liberty (and) some Broadway musicals. 'Hamilton' is her favorite. Everything is 'Hamilton' right now."
Brodie and Karr, who has Down syndrome, thought the trip wasn't going to happen anymore, but TODAY was able to help by surprising the mother-daughter duo with a visit to New York City in a segment aired Tuesday.
"We would love it if you would come and be our guest," TODAY's Savannah Guthrie told them over a Zoom call. Then an extra-special guest revealed the surprise would would include "Hamilton" tickets.
"I heard you are a 'Hamilton' super fan," Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created and starred in the musical, told Karr in a prerecorded video. "I have a surprise for you. Open up that package you have there. Yeah, that one. I'll wait."
"We're reserving two seats for you and your mom to come see 'Hamilton' in New York City," Miranda continued, as Karr looked on in shock.
Brodie said that after the difficulties of the past year, the surprise is especially meaningful.
"(The trip) is something that she looked forward to for at least a couple years," Brodie said. "So this is just amazing."