There’s nothing more genuine than a child’s show of affection, and that’s exactly what Tekara Capron witnessed (times four!) when her three-year-old son Makai Simmons returned to preschool on Monday.
Makai missed a week of school at the Learning City Academy in Pembroke Pines, Florida, after he and his mom found themselves stuck in the Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian. Trapped and afraid away from home, he had no idea how much his absence was felt.
Capron, 22, recalled to Good Morning America how Makai was immediately enveloped by four of his classmates the moment he entered the classroom.
"As soon as he walked in, everyone just jumped up," she said of the incredible moment (below). "It was really emotional."
Capron told GMA that they planned to spend Labor Day weekend with family in her native Bahamas, where she lived until she was 19. When they left for their trip, Dorian was on track to hit Florida. She thought they had dodged a bullet
Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, Dorian, now a Category 5 storm, was headed straight for them.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on September 1 with 183mph winds. The world is still coming to terms with the devastation that followed.
Capron told GMA that she and Makai rode out the terrifying storm at her grandparents' house in Freeport. Though the house survived the storm, they lost nearly everything to flooding, including most of their clothes and Makai's toys.
"He handled it very bravely, thankfully," Capron added. "He was like, 'It's OK, Mommy.'"
After waiting in line for 13 hours, mother and son were able to board a cruise ship back to the U.S. on Friday evening.
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Capron said the joyful welcome Makai received was "something he needed, and I needed it too."
"Right now, we're seeing so much trauma, so to see the love that kids are showing, I thought that was beautiful," she told GMA. "The rest of the world needed to see that too, especially the Bahamas."