We talk a lot about becoming successful and acting like a true leader. We talk a lot about starting a business and making money.

What do you do once you've achieved those goals? 

This is a story about a very successful 89-year-old man who did a dramatic and kind thing for some people who had gone through horrible times.

Bob Wilson is a real estate developer from San Diego. He's made a lot of money. But when he thinks over his life, he said recently, he thinks most fondly of high school.

"High school had a great impact on my life," he told the Associated Press. "In fact, I would say it was the first, last and only truly carefree time."

Like much of the country, Wilson watched what happened with the horrible wildfires in California over the last few weeks, and his heart went out to everyone--but especially the high school students who were affected.

So, he traveled north Tuesday to meet with high school students from Paradise--the town at the epicenter of the Camp Fire that killed 88 people and destroyed more than 14,000 homes.

He brought with him more than $1.1 million in a suitcase--1,100 checks made out for a cool grand each. And he started handing them out--one to every student, teacher, janitor, bus driver and staff member from the Paradise High School. 

"I made the decision within two or three minutes of reading the news, that I would like to give these kids something," Wilson told NBC television. 

He said he'd considered gift cards, but then decided that cash was king.

"Let them figure out what they want to do with it. Maybe they'll help their family, maybe they want to buy gasoline for their car, maybe they want to buy a bicycle, it's up to them," he said in an interview.

He also wrote a note included with each check: "Please know that you are not alone, as someone as far away as San Diego is rooting for you and has the firm belief that tomorrow will be better than today."  

He met the students at a high school in nearby Chico, California. The school district says its plan is to open next week in temporary facilities--like the Chico Mall. At least they'll have a little extra money to make things more comfortable.

The fire destroyed almost every school in Paradise, and at least 5,000 families are currently homeless, some living in hotels or camp cities according to NPR.

Published on: Nov 29, 2018
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