Home Television ‘You’re on live TV’: Today’s show catches Rensselaer man on National Good Neighbor Day

‘You’re on live TV’: Today’s show catches Rensselaer man on National Good Neighbor Day


An upstate New York man got the surprise of his life when he answered a knock on the door and found himself on live national television.

Rensselaer County resident Ernie Mann, 75, opened the door to his home in the town of Rensselaer on Wednesday morning September 28 and was shocked to find a Today show film crew accompanied by two dozen enthusiastic neighbours.

Moments before the big surprise, Today correspondent Donna Farizan told viewers that Mann’s longtime friend Amy Mooney nominated him for National Good Neighbor Day.

Farizan then knocked on Mann’s front door as the crowd of neighbors waited on his lawn, many holding posters and balloons. Some also donned fake mustaches as an ode to the longtime Rensselaer County resident.

“Hi Ernie. Get out. I’m Donna from the Today show and you’re live,” Farizan said when Mann opened his door.

“You can say hello to Hoda (Kotb) and Jenna (Bush Hager) and millions of Americans,” she continued.

Farizan then asked Mann what was going through his mind, to which the stunned man replied, “If I had any influence on anything, I would ask them if they could throw fastballs at ( Yankees outfielder) Aaron Judge.”

Mann was then given headphones to listen to a tribute package the show had put together with Mooney explaining why she nominated him.

“He’s not just a phenomenal neighbor, but a true hero in our community,” Mooney said in the clip.

She went on to say that Mann was a teacher at Rensselaer City School District for 33 years before retiring. He was also a volunteer firefighter and served as a fire chief.

Mooney also revealed that Mann lost his wife, Jan, to ovarian cancer.

The show then played a special video message from Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. before Farizan surprised him again with Yankees loot and four game tickets.

Before returning to the Today show hosts, Farizan asked Mann if he had any tips for people to be a better neighbor.

“Just pay attention to each other. If you see someone objecting to it, try to help them out a bit,” he said.

“Do it quietly. You don’t have to make a big fuss. What if people were nicer to each other. It is easy to do.

Click here to watch the full Today show video.

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