A 7-year-old Jacksonville, Florida, resident’s giving spirit has turned into a reward for him.
Jermaine Bell saved $100 over the last two years in hopes of heading to Disney World with his family for the vacation of his dreams. Yet once Hurricane Dorian began to head toward the Southeastern U.S., he decided to take that cash and help the evacuees traveling through South Carolina whose lives were threatened to change drastically once the storm came.
“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,” Jermaine told local ABC station News Channel 6 Sept. 3.
The result was Jermaine, who was visiting his grandmother in Allendale, South Carolina, using his savings to purchase water, hot dogs and chips to hand out free of charge to nearly 100 evacuees who stopped by as he stood alongside a highway.
“I wanted to be generous and live to give,” the first grader said.
He also hoped to still be able to make his Disney World trip a reality, telling the news station he wanted to “Go to Animal Kingdom and see lots of lions and have a Lion King party.”
And thanks to a surprise from the Walt Disney Company, he’ll be able to do just that.
In a bus with Mickey Mouse’s face plastered on the side, a cast of Disney employees and characters, including Mickey himself, arrived at Jermaine’s home on his 7th birthday Sunday, Sept. 8. Disney surprised the youngster by footing the bill for Jermaine and his family to visit The Most Magical Place On Earth.
“As a gift to you, we want you to come enjoy a getaway at the Walt Disney World Resort later this month,” Walt Disney World Ambassador Marilyn West tells Jermaine of the promised VIP experience before he graciously thanked the crew.
“I was just super happy,” Jermaine says in a Disney Parks video of his feelings after being led out of his home and into the driveway for the big reveal.
After accepting the trip, Jermaine was treated to an enthusiastic take on “Happy Birthday,” which was led by confetti print suit-wearing Mickey.
“Never in a million years could we have imagined anything like this from him, just coming up with an idea to help someone else,” says Jermaine’s mom Lauren Creech to Disney. “So it really does instill in him that when you do good, good comes back to you.”
Jermaine is undoubtedly looking forward to his trip and he has a message of advice for others.
“Be strong and if you do good things, you will be rewarded,” Jermaine says in the footage.
Meanwhile, the public has been pouring out with supportive messages and applauding Jermaine’s giving spirit.
“Now this, this is pure Disney Magic. Walt would be proud.”
“Great job Jermaine, you deserved this award for everything that you’ve done for all of the hurricane evacuees. Have a wonderful time at Disney World!”
“Parents be proud. You’ve done a great job raising a selfless son!”
“Jermaine, you are a great example of being selfless! I’m glad you were rewarded for your sacrifice! We all need to be more like you.”