“One of the Good Ones”: Fan Recalls Hoda Kotb’s Immense Kindness During Chance Encounter

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A brief interaction with Hoda Kotb meant the world to a woman who lost a close friend to breast cancer. A year later, what a small gesture of kindness from the Today co-host means to her is still “impossible to put into words.”

Anne Gilberg’s heartwarming recollection was posted this week by @overheardcelebs, a popular Instagram account that shares tales of interactions between everyday people and celebrities.

According to Gilberg, Kotb sent an uplifting video message to her close friend before she died from breast cancer in March of 2019 at the age of 34.

"It meant the world to her, especially given the fact that Hoda was a breast cancer survivor herself," she said.

Three weeks after her friend's death, Gilberg was getting a manicure when she happened to make eye contact with another woman in the salon. That woman turned out to be Kotb.

Gilberg approached the longtime television personality and told her how much her video message meant to her friend with breast cancer. When Kotb asked how the friend was doing, Gilberg “burst into tears.”

“Before I knew it, she was hugging me as if I was a long-lost friend she just reunited with,” Gilberg recalled. “I thanked her for her empathy. When I went to pay before leaving, the receptionist waved my card away. 'No need,' she said. 'Today Show paid for your services!'”

Kotb 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," she 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,” Kotb continued. “I didn't know what to do to help, but she was so sweet. What a sweet person."

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"I try to check myself on those rough days," she revealed. "And say, 'Remember when you were on your knees asking and begging for this moment? Take it.'"

Of course, in true Kotb fashion, she didn’t mention that she paid for Gilberg’s manicure.

Kotb underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer in March 2007. She has been an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness ever since.