A couple in Florida were looking for a safe place to stay with their newborn baby after Hurricane Michael destroyed their home when they eventually settled at a Walmart parking lot. That’s when things started to change for the better.
After Lorrainda Smith, of Panama City, gave birth to her son, Luke, on Oct. 13, 2018, her husband, Wilmer Capps, had difficulties finding a place for them to stay; Hurricane Michael had just torn through the town and damaged their home.
With no vacant rooms in a hotel near the hospital, they ended up at a Walmart parking lot in Callaway.
“It was better off in our truck in a Walmart parking lot,” Capps said in a video interview with Walmart, Yahoo Lifestyle reported. “I was worried about my wife and my son. … And when we went to the shelter and seeing what kind of living conditions it was, I was like, no way.”
“I had two flat tires, running out of gas—the whole nine yards,” Smith said. “So we didn’t have too many more options.”
A security guard who found the young family of three in the parking lot helped put them up at a nearby hotel where Walmart employees were staying.
“I was like, ‘This is exactly what I just wished for, we need this right now,’” Smith said.
In addition to a place to stay, they were also given food and hot showers when they met Nick Davis, a truck driver with Walmart, who immediately jumped in to help them.
“I have a 7-year-old,” Davis explained. “I know how hard those first few weeks are—they’re amazing, but they’re very stressful,” he said.
“We’d have done it for anybody. But the baby’s what really made me jump, quick. I just think about mine when I see something like that.”
The kindness didn’t end there.
Because the couple had nothing left after the storm, the employees gave them gas money to go to the hospital for Luke’s first checkup. Then, they sought approval from management to use a corporate card to buy $300 worth of supplies for the family.
When Smith saw what the staff did for them, she was moved to tears.
On Oct. 30, 2018, Walmart organized a baby shower and presented the family with even more gifts.
The couple was surprised after they were told showed up at Walmart for a hurricane recovery meeting.
“We partnered with Wyndham Destinations to get them additional time at a different property; it’s a vacation rental.
“And we were able to donate a year’s worth of diapers, $500 in online groceries, and a $500 gift card,” Michelle Malashock, a spokesperson for Walmart, said.
Remember the mom, dad and newborn found staying in a Walmart parking lot after Hurricane Michael? Walmart and Wyndham surprised them this morning. Story to come. https://t.co/PJqjJZIwfn pic.twitter.com/t3MuafZDm9
— Hannah Morse (@mannahhorse) October 30, 2018
The couple were beyond grateful to be on the receiving end of such kindness.
“These people have been a godsend, because otherwise we’d be back in the parking lot tonight,” Capps told The Associated Press.