When the 65 Creative Steps day campers from Philadelphia arrived in Disney World last week, the biggest celeb awaiting them wasn’t Mickey Mouse.
The trip’s benefactor, Atlanta director Tyler Perry himself flew to Florida to greet the small fry who made national headlines last month when they were denied entrance to the private Valley Swim Club after officials feared the minority kids might “change the complexion” of the pool.
After seeing the news reports on TV, a furious Perry contacted the day camp and donated the trip to the kids. He surprised the kids in Florida last week when he turned up at lunch with food and a personal message. But as it turns out, Perry ended up receiving the greater gift.
On his website blog, Perry writes of last week’s experience: “I gotta tell you, I thought I was giving them a gift, and boy was I wrong. These beautifully faced children of all shades brought tears to my eyes. They had so much hope, and they were so excited and happy, it was as if nothing bad had ever happened to them in their lives.”
Perry talked to the kids about overcoming negativity, racism and the importance of being a positive force in the community.
Adds Perry: “I prayed with them and I challenged them to do well in school. Then I asked a question, I asked, ‘If one black person robs a bank, does that mean all black people will rob a bank?’ They said no. Then I asked them, ‘If one white person is mean and disrespectful to them, will all white people be mean and disrespectful to them?’ They said no, and I was so happy to hear that! I went on to tell them that there was good and bad in all of us, so we are all the same – black, white or whatever. I asked them not to judge everyone by what a few people do to them. I think they got it. I think they understood my point.”