Oprah says she and Mattie had an instant connection—which is something that has only happened to her a handful of times in her life. In fact, it was 12-year-old Mattie who convinced Oprah not to retire from The Oprah Winfrey Show on the show's 20th anniversary, but instead to wait until its 25th anniversary.
"I was going to end the show in the 20th year, and Mattie sent me an email saying, 'I know you're planning to retire your show on its 20th anniversary. It is my opinion that you should wait, to stop on its 25th anniversary, and let me explain why.'" Oprah says. "What's so interesting is that he ends the email saying, 'I'll let you think on it. And, of course, it's only my opinion, but sometimes I get feelings about things and I have one about this. I think it's good for the world and good for you.'" Oprah says he was right for all those reasons.
Mattie's mom, Jeni, says that he felt a connection to Oprah even before he met her. When he was 6 years old, with only a nickel to spend, he picked up a 5-cent book at a thrift store that said "Meet Oprah Winfrey—a self-made woman of many talents." Jeni says Mattie didn't even know who Oprah was at the time, but after reading her story, he was convinced that they were supposed to be in each other's lives. "What impressed him after he read the book was that he said that you understand what it means to live beyond an expectation, and that was what he was trying to do," Jeni tells Oprah. "A child who's supposed to die the day he was born that wants to leave a legacy that touches millions."