Walt Disney World has long been touted as the “Happiest Place on Earth” (for good reason – Long Live The Mouse!).
It is home to 4 theme parks: including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios; in addition to 2 water parks. You can dine with princesses, save the galaxy, set sail with dastardly pirates, and have “It’s A Small World,” stuck in your head for ever and ever, on repeat, all in one day.
It is THE place where dreams come true (along with Target, of course.)
And for one 6-year-old his dreams of Disney World were about to come true. Jermaine Bell Jr. had worked hard saving up his allowance to celebrate his 7th birthday on September 8 at the Animal Kingdom. And then along came Hurricane Dorian.
Instead of cashing in his allowance to meet Simba, he used the money to set up a free hotdog stand for evacuees. Annnnd there goes my heart.
Jermaine, who currently lives in Florida, was visiting his grandmother, Aretha Grant, for Labor Day in Allendale, South Carolina when the inspiration struck. He bought hundreds of hot dogs, bottles of water, and bags of chips. He set up a makeshift stand along the side of a local highway and opened for business. His sign read, “Dorian Evacuees Free Hot Dogs & Water.”
He tells local News station, WJBF-TV:
“The people that are traveling to go to other places, I wanted them to have some food to eat so they can enjoy the ride to the place that they’re going to stay at.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
In addition to free food, Jermaine also handed out free prayers.
He took the time to pray with one family, asking that their house would be spared of Dorian’s wrath.
And while his mother, Lauren Creech, isn’t surprised by her son’s generosity, she had no idea of Jermaine’s big plans. She writes on the Facebook page, JustElle Creech:
We often practice selflessness and make it a purpose to express the importance of gratitude in our family. Jermaine Jay’s Fun Farm asked if Labor Day meant the whole week in SC and little did i know he had big plans. He decided to use some of his Disney Trip Birthday money to purchase and give out hotdogs, chips, and drinks to Dorian Evacuees… if you see him in Allendale,SC; honk your horn, or give him a wave to let him know that he’s doing a great job! #Proudmom
You should be proud, mama. What the world needs now is more Jermaine Bell. A whole lot more. Because after all, love makes the world go round.
Jermaine has served over 100 Dorian evacuees in the three days that he has manned his post. He has been met with tears, hugs, and a whole lot of gratitude.
He tells Yahoo News what the response has been from the people he has served:
“They were kind of emotional and gave donations for me to go to Disney.”
His mother hopes that her son’s random act of kindness will encourage others to step up and pay it forward:
“It’s really encouraging and I hope he can show other people his age that you don’t have to do much — you don’t need to be a celebrity or have a platform, but when you do good things people do notice it.”
And Jermaine’s own response to what motivated his selfless act?
“I wanted to be generous and live to give.”
“Live To Give.” A motto we should all take to heart.
The Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, had ordered mandatory evacuations along the state’s coast line on September 1. The evacuation order has now been lifted (as of September 5).
Dorian has already decimated the Abaco islands as a Category 5 hurricane. Flood waters and ripping winds ravaged the islands, destroying almost everything in their wake.
Grand Bahama Island has also sustained extensive damage. 30 people have been confirmed dead, with several still missing, and relief efforts are currently underway.
Hurricane Dorian then turned north, hitting the Carolinas as a Category 2 storm with strong winds, flooding, and tornadoes. It is currently classified as a Category 1 storm and just made landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It is expected to continue it’s path of destruction over the next few days.
For those of you who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian, our thoughts are with you. For those of you are still in it’s path, please stay safe.
If you would like to donate to Hurricane Dorian relief you can do so through the American Red Cross. They are currently accepting donations via phone at 800-435-7669 or online here.
As for Jermaine? He still plans on going to Disney World some day. But for now, he’ll enjoy a Lion King themed party at home, surrounded by family and friends. Happy Birthday Jermaine.