Jeff Bezos Gets Emotional Recalling His Father's Journey To US From Cuba

Ashley Hunte
Jeff and Miguel Bezos
Getty Images | Kevin Mazur

Being a proud parent is great, but sometimes that pride goes the other way around, too. Plenty of us have a lot of respect, admiration, and yes, pride, for our parents and the journeys they took to give us the best lives they could.

Earlier this month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos teared up in a speech honoring his father, Miguel Bezos.

Earlier this month, Bezos spoke at the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Awards.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation shared a video of Bezos's speech on Instagram.

"I think in every immigrant you’ll find a deep optimism and a deep resilience, too," he said in his speech.

The speech talks about Miguel Bezos's journey from Cuba to America, and how grew to become a positive role model for his children.

"Every immigrant who has come to this country, they all have their own unique stories. Fighting for a better life, hardships but they also end up having a belief in America."

"They think this place creates opportunity and it does."

"That's certainly the story of my dad. He came from Santiago, Cuba. He was 16. He spoke no English, he had to make his way. He had those tough experiences."

Jeff spoke as the foundation presented his father with the 2022 Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Award.

According to People, Miguel and wife Jackie co-founded the Bezos Family Foundation, "which promotes education and positive learning environments for children throughout the U.S."

This is not the first time the Bezos family has talked about Miguel's experiences as a Cuban Immigrant.

In a 2019 video posted to YouTube by Amazon, Miguel speaks about how he immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager as well as the hardships and triumphs he's faced.

"My dad was just 16 when he came to America," Jeff Bezos says in the video.

The window of an airplane, showing the sunset in the sky outside.
Unsplash | Leonardo Yip

"And not with is family, he was by himself. And I have a hard time imagining that, but his parents sent him here because, under Fidel Castro they felt that they had to, to protect him."

"My parents were not allowed to go into the airport with me, so they dropped me off," Miguel says.

A plane making its landing in an airport runway.
Unsplash | Pascal Meier

"I got on an airplane and landed in Miami 45 minutes later. I remember that everybody on the airplane started clapping."

After spending time in a refugee camp, Miguel moved to Wilmington, Delaware, to attend high school.

A person writing on a desk.
Unsplash | Ben Mullins

Not knowing English at the time, he had to learn quickly in order to do well in school.

"You can see my grades improving semester by semester," he said. "All of that is due to being able to speak and understand the language."

Jeff continues by adding his admiration for his father in the video.

Two people holding hands.
Unsplash | Markus Spiske

"He had an enormous amount of grit and determination, but he also had incredibly kind and supportive people to help guide him along the way."

"My dad's story really shows that people help each other."

Oprah tearing up and nodding.

It only seems fitting that Jeff was the one to speak at his father's award ceremony. And the fact that you can hear him choke up toward the end of the speech makes it feel like such a touching moment between father and son.