Playing beer pong in college is a rite of passage, but not all college students get invited to play the game while sitting in the audience of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
A University of Nebraska at Omaha junior, Jaida Jackson, and her mom, Chassidy Jackson-Goodwin, were featured in last Monday’s episode of the talk show. Jackson, a marketing and management major, was called down to the stage to play a modified version of beer pong with DeGeneres and actress Melissa McCarthy.
Unfortunately, since Jackson is 19, she was unable to play the game.
“When she [Ellen] realized that I was 19, she took the mic from me,” Jackson said. “She said, ‘who are you here with?’ and I pointed to my mom and my mom came down.”
Jackson stayed on stage to watch her mom play the game, which she said was fun.
“Melissa McCarthy is hilarious,” Jackson said. “Watching her chug the beers when my mom threw them in there was funny.”
The mother-daughter duo won $7,000 after Jackson-Goodwin threw several ping pong balls into the cups on McCarthy’s apron, but they weren’t done yet. DeGeneres revealed to the two that she knew Jackson was underage, and they would need to call her mom down to the stage.
Then, DeGeneres talked about how inspired she was by Jackson-Goodwin, a Lincoln police officer who placed her education on hold to have Jackson. She presented the two with a check worth $25,000 from Shutterfly, which was matched by Life of the Party, McCarthy’s upcoming movie, and also matched by McCarthy herself to help Jackson-Goodwin and Jackson finish their educations.
Jackson-Goodwin said she plans to enroll at UNO for the summer session. She is going to work on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
After the game, DeGeneres also revealed Jackson wrote a letter back in December that helped the two earn tickets to the show. Jackson-Goodwin, who said her daughter is her “best friend,” said she was surprised.
“There was 12 days of giveaways for Ellen’s show,” Jackson said “On there it said to nominate someone who’s deserving to win all the gifts. I went in and wrote about my mom and her work in the community as a police officer and how she wanted to go back to school.”
Though they didn’t earn the gifts, Jackson heard they had earned tickets to the show about a month after sending the letter.
She said the experience has taught her about the importance of taking chances.
“If anyone wants to go for anything in their life ever, do it because you never know what could happen,” Jackson said. “Literally, your life can be changed in an instant. Whatever you might be unsure about, just take the chance.”