Local Oprah fan fired up for trip Down Under

September 13, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Winfrey told them she's taking them all to Australia.

Oprah and her producers gave themselves a pretty difficult task: she seems to have topped herself every year in the season opening show.

You might have thought it couldn't get any bigger than last year's show on Michigan Avenue.

One local fan who can't believe she's included in this year's "great giveaway".

Even as Marlita Salvador watches highlights from the show, she says it still feels like a dream.

She was thrilled just to get picked to attend the show, and now she's going to be spending at least ten more days with Oprah when they go to Australia.

"It still hasn't sunk in, I don't think it'll sink in until the day I come back from Australia," said Salvador.

Part-time pilot John Travolta helped Oprah break it to the audience, walking in with a model of the Qantas Airlines jet they will take to the land down under, and offering his own tribute to the queen of talk as she kicked off her final season.

"If I may be as so bold to speak for the public, speak for the world: Oprah, there's only one you and there will never be another one," said Travolta.

She is a media mogul worth an estimated two-and-a-half billion dollars according to Forbes magazine. She is also a living, breathing advertisement for the City of Chicago, and the Chamber of Commerce, for one, is very sorry to see her show end.

"It's been a great ride with Oprah. I think she has been great for the city," said Jerry Roper of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "Her feelings about this city and what this city has meant to her is more than we could ask for."

Many viewers also say Oprah has changed their lives. Marlita Salvador won tickets by writing a letter describing how Oprah's show years ago on the Los Angeles riots changed her.

She also sent a picture of herself posing with a wooden kangaroo, never realizing she might be on her way to see real ones.

The announcement had her acting like a shrieking audience member she used to make fun of.

"As she kept going on, I felt like one of those women," said Salvador. "I didn't know what to do - I was shaking - I felt like I was having a heart attack."

All three hundred audience members of Monday's show were invited to Australia. The all-expenses paid trip will last ten days. They leave in early December.

Much of the trip will be filmed for Oprah's show.

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