Longtime weatherman and television personality on the “Today” show Al Roker got the surprise of a lifetime when some of his closest colleagues showed up at his doorstep to sing him Christmas carols. The surprise was even more heartfelt as Roker has been plagued by health issues for many weeks, and his friends at “Today” simply wanted to show how much they missed him and wanted to brighten up his day during a challenging time.
Roker began his career at NBC, the channel on which “Today” airs, in 1978 when he was hired to work at an NBC-owned local television station in Cleveland, Ohio. Five years later, he moved to its flagship outlet, WNBC-TV, in New York City. Starting out as a weekend weathercaster, he soon began hosting the weather forecast on a nightly basis. From the ’90s onwards, he began filling in for “Today” show regulars such as Willard Scott, Bryant Gumbel and Matt Lauer in their absence. By 1996, Roker was regularly handling the weather report, alongside other notable appearances that have made him a household name and NBC staple.
Among his most significant charge is hosting NBC’s annual coverage of New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, something he has done every year since 1995. However, he was forced to skip this duty for the first time in 27 years in 2022 due to his ailing health.
Just days before Thanksgiving in 2022, Roker was notably absent from NBC’s screens, causing viewers to wonder what he was up to. He then shocked fans by revealing he was battling serious illnesses that had kept him from the office and would keep him from it for several more weeks. With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, his colleagues decided to lift their friend’s spirits with a delightful surprise.
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On Nov. 18, 2022, Roker took to social media to share he was in the hospital after a blood clot had been detected in his leg and lungs. “After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery,” he wrote as wishes for a quick recovery flooded the comments.
After the four-week stint at the hospital, Roker was discharged and allowed to recover at home. In a bid to lift his spirits during the holiday season, Roker’s friends and colleagues at the NBC studios decided to pay him a surprise caroling visit.
Wearing matching Santa hats, the more than 50-person-strong crowd of anchors, producers, crew and security staff made their way to Roker’s front door. However, while practicing about a block away from Roker’s house, they caught wind that the weatherman might catch sight of them as he was on his way back from a doctor’s appointment. Luckily, however, his wife, Deborah Roberts, who was in on the surprise, alerted the team, who quickly made themselves scarce. With the practice over, the crowd then headed to Roker’s place, as they gathered in a semi-circle around his door, ready to sing their hearts out to their beloved friend and longtime colleague. With the team ready and the cameras rolling, “Today” hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb rang the doorbell and quickly ran back to take their place among the crowd to kick off a sweet, jolly and thoroughly emotional affair that would leave more than a few with tears in their eyes.
Roker opened his door to the NBC team singing “Jingle Bells,” and he could do nothing more than burst into an enormous smile and laughter. As the team continued to serenade the TV personality, cameras caught Roker’s emotions getting the better of him as the sweet gesture from his colleagues overwhelmed him. However, after wrapping up their first song, Roker showed off his funny side, as he said in Kotb’s direction, “It’s impressive you did that without a prompter,” with a smile.
“I’ve missed you all so, so very much, all these faces,” he then said. “It just means the world to me and to our family and my Deborah, who’s just been my rock. I thank you so much. I really appreciated it.”
Guthrie later said it wasn’t just Roker who got emotional during the surprise visit. “It was one of the most heartwarming moments I think (for) all of us,” Guthrie said, before she added, “Everybody was in tears, and it was just beautiful and so wonderful to see him.”
Anchor Sheinelle Jones was also warmed by the gesture. She said: “It was special, it was powerful. You could just feel the love.” Another anchor, Dylan Dreyer, also later said: “This place means so much to Al. To have us all just go out there and serenade him was — it was emotional, and he appreciated it.”
The NBC carolers also had another special surprise in store for Roker, as they broke into another traditional Christmas song with a twist: “Al Be Home for Christmas.” The touching tribute was just what Roker needed to lift his spirits and he thanked his NBC fraternity when he said, “I love you more than you’ll ever know.”
The TODAY family brought holiday cheer to Al Roker’s door with an emotional surprise❤️
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 14, 2022
What a touching gesture from Al Roker’s colleagues! Do you share a special bond like this with your workmates? Let us know, and be sure to pass this and the holiday cheer on to family and friends as well.
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