Three-year-old Makai Simmons of Florida spent Hurricane Dorian curled in his mother’s arms in the Bahamas, where they were visiting family when the storm hit.
Afterward, he donned a Spider-Man outfit and vowed to help save the children who had been less fortunate.
When Makai and his mother, Tekara Capron, finally made it back to Pembroke Pines and he arrived at school after his week-long, terrifying adventure, it was his turn.
And his classmates delivered.
As one, they piled on him with hugs as soon as he walked into his classroom at the Learning City Academy in Pembroke Pines, a city in southern Broward County.
“As soon as he walked in, everyone just jumped up,” Capron told Good Morning America. “It was really emotional.”
In the video his mother posted on Instagram, he can be seen wiping his eyes.
My heart. Today was my son’s first day back to school in the USA after experiencing Hurricane Dorian in Freeport. The love he received from his friends as soon as he walked into class was so touching.
A post shared by @ honeyinashell on
Capron had thought they were dodging Dorian’s bullet when they’d left for her homeland to visit family over Labor Day weekend, because the storm’s track was actually toward Florida. But things changed quickly while they were on the islands, and leaving became logistically impossible. Plus, Capron told GMA, she didn’t want to leave her extended family – mother, sister and grandparents among them.
The family hunkered down at her grandparents’ house in Freeport, Grand Bahama, to ride out the Category 5 hurricane, which hit on Sept. 1 with 183 mph winds and didn’t leave for days, killing 50 or more people.
“Makai was asking, ‘Is that a monster? Is that a monster?’ because that’s what he thought the storm was,” Capron fold GMA. “I just had to lie down and hold Makai in my arms.”
Most of Makai’s clothes were destroyed in the storm, and all of his toys. But a Spider-Man life vest remained, and he immediately donned that after learning that people – including children – were trapped in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“He said, ‘Mommy I have to go save the children in the water,’ ” Capron told WPLG-TV.
His welcome back was healing for both of them, Capron said, posting on Instagram, “The love he received from his friends as soon as he walked into class was so touching.”