Last month, the Camp Fire wildfire wreaked havoc on the state of California. One of the cities that was most affected by the wildfires was Paradise.
When 90-year-old Bob Wilson saw how the people of Paradise were left devastated by the wildfires, he knew he had to do something.
“The Los Angeles Times ran an article last week on the high school and how these kids were, you know, upended you might say, and they didn’t know where they were going to go, when they were going to get back to high school, or what’s going to happen,” Bob explained. “They still don’t know… And I thought, ‘Gosh darn, these kids — I had such a great time, such great memories of high school — if I could help those kids out I wanted to do that.”
Even though Bob lives near San Diego and has no ties to Paradise, he decided he needed to do something to help the people there. Bob, who is a real estate investor and owner of a chain of restaurants, remembered back to his time as a teenager as he thought about how the kids in Paradise were impacted.
“It was probably the first, last and only carefree time of my life,” Bob said. “I could go home no matter how late, my mother always had dinner for me and I always had a bed to sleep in.”
Bob decided to go to Paradise High School and give every student and faculty member a $1,000 check with no strings attached, which meant that they were free to use the money however they pleased.
“[I wanted to] give a little freedom to do whatever they wanted to do and maybe take their minds off what happened for a short period,” Bob said.
The school has 980 students and 105 teachers and staff members, meaning Bob had to donate $1.1 million to make this dream a reality, but he did not hesitate in doing so!
“What he’s done is awesome. This puts money into people’s hands right now, and it pumps more than a million dollars into the economy,” said the school’s Principal Loren Lighthall. “Over 90 percent of the homes in Paradise burned down, so our kids are super excited to get these checks. Really, it’s all they’re talking about.”
Bob said that he was just happy to help in any way he could.
“When I do something like this, let me tell you, there is absolute joy in giving,” Bob said. “It’s a happy occasion. I couldn’t be happier about doing something and doing it directly and not through some agency.”
God bless Bob Wilson for doing something incredible to help a city in need! Find out more about this amazing act of kindness in the video below!