With his mother currently living in a shelter, he is carrying more weight on his shoulders than most Penn State University students. He is the first member of his family to go to college and the Harlem native, Joshua Johnson, helps pay for the expensive classes with donations he receives while tap dancing in the New York City subways every weekend.
“You have to figure out a way for the whole family to come up,” Johnson told The New York Times. “That’s what I’m working towards, to make things better for my younger brother and my mom.”
The talented dancer travels home from Pennsylvania by bus each weekend and heads down to the No. 2 and No. 3 lines between 96th Street and Times Square, calling it “The Tap Express”.
Impressed by the passion and persistence of the communications and marketing major, Ellen DeGeneres invited the performer to dance on her TV talk show last week. But that’s not all she had scheduled for the tapper.
Ellen lightened the 20-year-old’s burden substantially when she suddenly presented him a giant check for $35,000 paid for by the social education platform, Chegg.
That was enough to make him dance for joy, but Ellen also threw in a pair of top-of-the-line tap shoes to help him continue doing what he loves, making people happy in New York City.
(WATCH the video below to hear his story (no advertising) – READ it in the NY Times)