James Shaw Jr., the 29-year-old father who heroically disarmed a gunman at a Nashville-area Waffle House on April 22, appeared on ‘Ellen’ Wednesday, and was surprised by his favorite basketball player, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

From the start, Shaw has downplayed his role in ending the shooting that killed four people.

“I’m not a hero. I’m just a regular person,” he said in a press conference. “I think anybody could’ve did what I did if they’re just pushed in that kind of cage, and you have to either react or you’re going to, you know, fold.”

So, when Wade was invited on the show to surprise Shaw, he quickly jumped at the chance to meet a real-life superhero and express his gratitude, father-to-father.

“I’m glad I could be here,” Wade said. “… I look at you, I know you don’t want to be called a hero, but I look at you as an American hero … I would say obviously how brave you are, but for me, when I sit down with my kids and I sit down with them and talk about role models and who I want them to look up to, I tell them to look up to you.”

Shaw kept his cool, and then explained what he wants the nation to get out of this shooting and his act of bravery.

“What I want to see come from all of this is, it’s a public health problem that we have, it’s a mental health problem the United States as a whole has,” Shaw explained. “One in five individuals in the United States suffers from some kind of mental disorder, and that’s close to 45 million people, so that’s a very large and eye-raising problem, so I want to bring some kind of awareness to it. I have a 4-year-old daughter, so I don’t want her to live…in that problem.”

Shaw even set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funeral expenses of the victims. Seeing the impact he made both during the shooting and in its aftermath, journalist Yashar Ali set up a fundraising campaign for Shaw.

So, Ellen Degeneres handed him a $225,000 check from GoFundMe, and Wade kicked in another $20,000.



It’s been a busy week for Shaw. He was honored by the Nashville Predators Sunday night prior to Game 2 of their series against the Winnipeg Jets. And, of course, he wore a t-shirt that said “Spread Love.”