On Sept. 14, 2004, Oprah stunned her studio audience by giving each and every person in attendance a brand-new Pontiac G6 sedan worth nearly $30,000. After instructing them to look under their chairs for a gift box, Oprah explained, "Inside one of these boxes is a key." This was a benign lie: all 276 audience members got keys. The room went nuts. "I wanted it to be bigger than Santa Claus and not to be an act of a fairy godmother, because that's not who I am," she later told USA Today of her munificence. "Who I am is a person who understands what it means to give back." Fortunately for Oprah, she didn't have to pick up the $7 million tab; that was handled by General Motors. As for the audience members, they each had to fork over $7,000 in taxes or forfeit the gift.
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