A Hurricane Dorian Survivor Gets All The Love From His Preschool Classmates (WATCH)
Words: mater mea
The brave 3 year old’s friends knew just what he needed.
Little Makai Simmons had been through a lot when he returned to school at the Learning City Academy in Pembroke Pines, Florida. But his classmates knew exactly what he needed: HUGS!
Why were his friends so excited to see him? Makai, 3, had missed a week of school after he and his mom, 22-year-old student sonographer Tekara Capron, were left stranded in Freeport, Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit.
What was supposed to be a lovely, end-of-summer Labor Day weekend vacation with their family in the Bahamas became a story of survival as Dorian demolished the country, leaving 50 dead, 1,300 people missing and $7 billion of damage in its wake. It is the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas.
Tekara, who is from the Bahamas and lived there until she was 19, didn’t expect the storm to disrupt their vacation. If anything, she was worried about their home in Florida, she told Good Morning America.
"Everyone [in South Florida] was going crazy preparing for the storm," she said.
But when they reached Freeport, Dorian had turned into a category 5 storm and arrived in the Bahamas on September 1. Finding safety in Tekara’s grandparent’s home, the family rode out the storm as 183 mph winds ripped through the town; at one point, the front door flew open.
“Makai was asking, 'Is that a monster? Is that a monster?' because that's what he thought the storm was," Tekara told GMA. "I just had to lie down and hold Makai in my arms."
The family rode out the storm together. While Tekara’s grandparent’s home stood against the storm, the extreme flooding meant they lost nearly everything in it.
“In my 22 years of life, I have never seen anything like this,” Tekara wrote in an Instagram caption.
But even in the face of such devastating loss, Makai put on a brave face—and costume—once he heard that other kids were still trapped by the storm. He put on a Spiderman life vest and said, “'Mommy, I’m going to go save the children in the water,'" Tekara said in an interview with a local ABC station.
Tekara and Makai were in the Bahamas until September 6, and got on a cruise ship back to America after waiting in line for 13 hours. When they arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, strangers offered them water and clothes, and Lyft drivers offered free rides.
The outpouring of love Makai received when he arrived for his first day of school on September 9 was just as fortifying.
"As soon as he walks into the class, the whole entire class jumps up," Capron told the ABC station.
It was “"something he needed, and I needed it too,” she told GMA.
While the storm has left a mark on Tekara and Makai (he doesn’t like the name Dorian and jumps and hides “at the sound of strong wind” now, Tekara said on Instagram), we hope his classmates’ hugs help this brave little guy feel better!