From August 24 to September 4, 2019, Hurricane Dorian battered the Caribbean and the Eastern coast of the United States. The Category 5 hurricane caused “catastrophic damage” to the Bahamas—with the devastating storm surge sweeping away many buildings. Worse yet, the number of people missing is over 1,000.
It was a scary situation, even for the United States, as the monstrous hurricane crept closer and closer to the mainland. Knowing people in South Carolina were evacuating, six-year-old Jermaine Bell decided to spend his seventh birthday money for Disney World to help these individuals.
A Catastrophic Storm
Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas for almost two days. People were trapped in their homes, and many were trapped outside while looking for safety. Many of the natives said they had never seen a storm like it before. It would become the strongest hurricane to ever hit the islands. By the time it hit, it was too late for people in Grand Bahama and the Abacos to flee.
By the time Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas, Americans knew what was heading towards the East Coast. They had time to flee, unlike the victims in the Bahamas. Residents of eastern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina began evacuating. They knew Hurricane Dorian was a storm not to be messed with; it was a serious storm.
Helping The Evacuees
More than two million people in North and South Carolina were forced to evacuate their homes as Hurricane Dorian inched closer and closer to the East Coast on September 4. While it had downgraded to a Category 2 storm [and eventually made landfall as a Category 1 storm], because of the damage caused in the Bahamas, residents were advised to take the storm seriously and evacuate. You can never be too safe.
For Jermaine Bell, he knew millions of people would be traveling and leaving their homes. The six-year-old wanted to help in whatever way possible. So, he decided to donate money to buy hot dogs, chips, and water for travelers. He stood alongside a highway in Allendale, South Carolina to give the free food to any coastal evacuees who left their homes before stocking up.
Bell’s donation is impressive for his age. He used the money he had been saving for his seventh birthday party at Disney World a week later. While many children would have wanted to spend the money on themselves, this wasn’t the case for Bell. Ultimately, he knew it was better to help others than use the money on himself. According to CNN, he served over 100 evacuees on his first day on the highway.
He commented, “I wanted to be generous and live to give.” That’s not a bad philosophy to have. If only more people were as generous as a six-year-old child.
Planning A Second Trip
Bell knew he was performing a good deed, but he was more focused on offering free food to people who really needed it. He would always be able to save up more money to go to Disney World. Some people might not have another chance to find food and shelter. Bell purportedly witnessed the news of the destruction in the Bahamas and didn’t want that to happen in South Carolina.
“I am very proud,” said Bell’s grandmother, Aretha Grant. “We knew Jermaine was very special, but we didn’t know he was special in this way to be such a giver like this.” Sometimes, children surprise you with their simple acts of kindness. But when they do, it’s a moment each of us will never forget.
After the storm passed, Bell said he hopes he can still go to Disney World to celebrate his seventh birthday. He wanted to go to “Animal Kingdom and see lots of lions and have a Lion King party.” Once Walt Disney World heard the news, they immediately reacted by gifting Bell with a getaway trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. If there’s anyone who deserves to go to the happiest place on Earth, it’s selfless people like Bell.
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