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Lifestyle & Human Interest

7-Year-Old Surprised with Dream Disney Vacation After Using Savings To Help Hurricane Evacuees

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On Sept. 8, 7-year-old Jermaine Bell celebrated his birthday in style: with the news of a surprise, gifted trip to Disney World — something he’d wanted for a long time.

It all started on Labor Day when Jermaine was visiting his grandmother Aretha Grant and noticed all the hurricane evacuees.

He’d been saving up for a trip to Disney, and his birthday was on Sept. 8, but his kind heart led him to spend his money on food for the fleeing residents instead.

Jermaine stood on the side of a highway in Allendale, South Carolina, handing out hot dogs, chips and water to hurricane evacuees driving by.

“I wanted to be generous and live to give,” he told WJBF-TV. “The people that are traveling to go to 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.”

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“He actually even prayed for a family while they were here in reference to their house being okay when they got back, so that was really tear dropping,” Jermaine’s grandmother said.

Bell still had dreams of one day having his dream party and said that he really wanted to go to “Animal Kingdom and see lots of lions and have a Lion King party.”

The story caught the attention of one woman who was touched by Jermaine’s selfless actions. Kristin Hutchins Brown started a GoFundMe to help the generous young man get the trip of his dreams.

“Yesterday, riding home from seeing family, we passed a sign posted on the highway,” Brown wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I didn’t know the story behind it, but I stopped and took a picture because it brought joy to my heart.”

Brown eventually capped the donations that poured in, ending up with $12,595.

That certainly would’ve helped Bell get to his dream destination, but then the dream destination itself stepped in and gave him what many people were hoping for. Disney representative Marilyn West showed up with a team (and Mickey Mouse) to surprise Bell with the wonderful news.

“We heard your original plan was to spend your birthday at Walt Disney World, as a gift to you we want you to come enjoy a get away at the Walt Disney World Resort later this month,” West said, according to WJBF.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, the team gave Jermaine the exciting news on his birthday, and the family will be enjoying a VIP trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. Part of that gift includes riding on a Disney Bus with Jermaine’s name on it — a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

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“You think the small things you do, you think people don’t notice, but to have everyone watching him and telling him what a good job you’ve done young man, I think that really instills in him,” Jermaine’s mother, Lauren Creech, told WJBF.

“His jaw just dropped open and he was smiling from ear to ear,” Creech told People. “He was really happy. He was very grateful for what they did. They gave him an animated Simba toy and he was just like, ‘This is my favorite Simba toy ever. I think I’m gonna sleep with it, it’s gonna go everywhere I go.'”

“He is really a selfless, selfless child and it’s overwhelming but it’s not shocking because to know him, this is exactly who he is,” she continued. “I have a budding philanthropist! I just really want him to know that I am extremely proud of him. I don’t even think I could put it into words.”

Since the upstanding 7-year-old received the trip, Creech has decided to save some of the GoFundMe donations for Jermaine’s education and put the rest toward relief efforts for Bahamian children.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking