On Monday, Al Roker was surprised by three special Christmas carolers who left him in tears.
They rewrote Jingle Bells, especially “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” to become “Al Be Home for Christmas.” The well-liked weatherman, 68, opened the door to find all of his Today colleagues outside, singing, only hours after virtually appearing on the Today show, where he gave an update on his recovery after spending four weeks in the hospital having treatment for blood clots in his legs and lungs.
A video of the heartbreaking scene from Wednesday was aired today. At the occasion, NBC morning show replacement Dylan Dreyer and anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, Jenna Bush Hager, and Sheinelle Jones sang carols.
The celebration also attracted Today’s producers, staff workers, security personnel, and others, in addition to the TV celebs. They were all dressed in Santa hats.
“For all of us, it was one of the most delightful moments,” Guthrie remarked Thursday. “Everyone was crying. And seeing him was simply incredible.”
“Al has a strong connection to this location. It was sad to see us all singing to him outside,” Jones remarked, “you could just feel the love all around the community,” Dryer added.
As he stood at his front door with a cane, Roker was visibly moved by the devotion.
“I simply want to thank you, everyone,” Roker stated after their introductory song.
“It’s been a long, difficult struggle, and I’ve missed you all. Seeing everyone’s expressions meant everything to me. Please appreciate my heartfelt gratitude. I am deeply appreciative.”
“I’m delighted you did that without being asked,” he joked. “There must be a new America’s Got Talent contestant.”
Al also thanked Deborah Roberts, his wife of 62 years, calling her “a rock.”
“We adore you, Al,” Kotb stated to Roker. “Everyone was ecstatic to sing to you and couldn’t wait to get out here.”
Since 1996, Roker has served as Today’s primary weather anchor. Previously, from 1990 until 1995, Roker became a weathercaster for the late Willard Scott, who was semi-retiring.
He hasn’t been on Today in a few weeks, having last appeared on November 4th. The weatherman was initially sent to the hospital to treat blood clots in his legs and lungs. He was released but returned a few weeks later, just before Thanksgiving. He could not attend Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (his first in 27 years!) or the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting due to this second visit.
On December 8, Roker announced on Instagram that he had left the hospital once more. He said on Monday’s Today show that his rehabilitation has been “a tremendous fight.”
“I’ve had several surgeries, but this was the worst one yet,” he said. “However, I am feeling powerful and positive. I’m getting better every day.”
“It makes you feel tremendous gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks,” Roker remarked. “I’m a pretty lucky guy,” Al said.
Roker’s Roberts, daughters Courtney (35), Leila (24), and other family members have joined him at home. According to Roker, his son Nick, 20, “is going to return home from college very soon,” and his brother and sister-in-law have visited.
Roker stated that he needed time to rehabilitate and declined to say when he would return to Today full-time.
“Every week you’re in the hospital, you lose a certain amount of muscle mass, and I was there for four weeks. As a result, there is just a slight weakness.” Roker also stated that he receives physical and occupational therapy daily. “I simply need to regain my strength. I had to postpone it since I was scheduled to replace my knee in January. As a result, I have several problems.”
Even if he isn’t physically present, Roker is still a regular contributor to Today. Today featured him in their 2022 digital holiday card, shot at the show’s filming location, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which has seen many fans clutching “Get Well” banners.