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Businessman Gives $1,000 Checks To Everyone From Paradise High School

The worst wildfire in California history is finally dying down, but survivors still face uncertain days ahead as they adjust to life after the disaster.

According to Reuters, the fire was responsible for at least 88 deaths and destroyed 18,000 homes throughout Butte County.

But out of all of the areas affected, it's clear that the town of Paradise was hit the hardest. Every destroyed house comes with its own sad story, but one of them in particular inspired one San Diego businessman to extend a helping hand.

With over 90% of Paradise's homes destroyed, it's sadly clear that most of the people forced to leave the town won't have anything to return to.

Reddit | starryskymagic

But for 90-year-old Bob Wilson, one particular story about the hardships that students of Paradise High School now face struck a chord.

Bob fondly remembers his time at high school and didn't want to see what should be a carefree time ruined by the fire.

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As he told the San Diego Union Tribune, "It was probably the first, last and only carefree time of my life. I could go home no matter how late, my mother always had dinner for me and I always had a bed to sleep in.”

With that in mind, he thought hard about how he could support these vulnerable students as quickly as possible.

Reddit | TinyFilipina

So he decided to call the principal of Paradise High School and get every student and member of staff together so he could personally give each of them $1,000.

Of the principal, Bob said, "You could have pulled that guy off a cloud, he was so excited about what I was proposing."

After the residents of Paradise evacuated, many of them ended up in nearby Chico, California.

Reddit | Jpistachio128

According to CNN, some of those who didn't have the fortune of staying with friends and family were forced to set-up camp in a department store's parking lot.

This city is also where Bob was planning to meet those he was helping as he flew from San Diego carrying two briefcases full of checks.

If you put them all together, these checks add up to over $1 million.

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After all, Paradise High School has 980 students and 105 employees and Bob intended to extend the same gift to all of them.

As if this wasn't generous enough, Bob also made it clear that each of the recipients can use this money however they want.

YouTube | KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

As he put it, "What I wanted was for them to have complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with that $1,000. The most important thing about this is that they’re going to get it now, when they need it. A month from now, who knows what’s going to happen.”

If Paradise High School Principal Loren Lighthall's words are of any indication, it seems that Bob is making the impact he wanted to.

Reddit | Jackson530

As Loren told the Washington Post, "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."

Yet when Bob addresses his generous actions, he says that he's benefiting from this as much as the kids are.

Reddit | skrimpsand_whitewine

He said, "When I do something like this, let me tell you, there is absolute joy in giving."

Hopefully, others will discover that joy as well in the hard days to come.

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