Many of us don’t have a memory of sleeping in our own bed for the first time. For many of us, this experience feels like a given, and it can be easy to forget what life might be like without this. But some people haven’t been so lucky in life, like a little boy in Detroit, who got the chance to sleep in his own bed for the first time not long ago. His reaction, and his journey to this moment, reminds us all to be a little bit more grateful.
Daeyr Neely was 8 years old and had been homeless for years.
He had been homeless since he was a toddler, so it was pretty much all he knew. In a turn of events when he was 2 years old, his mother lost her job and subsequently their house. After many years of homelessness, the family moved into a shelter in Detroit. The plan was to eventually receive public housing assistance from the city, but it was a long journey there.
The move into the shelter was not an easy transition for Daeyr.
As his mother Dionna explains, the move challenged him in ways they didn’t foresee. She tells NBC News:
“He started to have a little trouble in school, once we moved to the shelter. But I explained to him that we had to do this in order to get our own home.”
After living in the shelter for a bit, the family was finally able to move into their own home.
It was a big move, and it marked a change in fortune for the family. But despite how good it was to finally have their own roof over their heads, the family didn’t have everything they needed.
They had very little furniture and supplies with which to furnish their new house. For the first few months, Daeyr was sleeping on piles of blankets because he didn’t have a bed.
To help lighten this burden, a nonprofit got involved.
Humble Design is a nonprofit that works to end homeless in several cities throughout the country. They heard about the Neely’s struggles and knew that a major way to help this family settle into their new home was by providing the furniture.
So that’s what they did. Every room of the Neely’s new house was completely furnished and decorated free of charge. The pieces of furniture were donated by community members. Decorating the house marked a big shift and helped the house start to feel like a home.
One result of furnishing their house was that Daeyr got his own bed for the first time in years. Understandably, he couldn’t keep it together when he finally saw the big reveal.
His reaction to the new bed was caught on camera. The video starts by watching Daeyr walk into his bedroom, and then he notices the bed. For the first few moments, his eyes widen and his mouth drops in a look of genuine shock.
Then, as the realization that this bed is completely his, his reaction gets even more emotional. He seems like he can hardly process this gift, and as it sinks in, he starts to cry. Daeyr covers his face with his hands and turns to get a hug as his shoulders start shaking with tears.
“Sweetie it’s all for you!”
As the boy continues to cry, one of the adults in the video says what must have been so relieving and overwhelming to hear, after so many years without a personal bed. At this point, Daeyr is crying, and everyone in the room is touched by his reaction.
Now things are really starting to look up for Daeyr and Dionna.
In addition to the bed, Daeyr was also gifted plenty of new toys and games to play with, like lightsabers. And now that their housing situation is more settled, Dionna can focus on attending nursing school. Daeyr and Dionna’s lives are now both set to be on an upward trajectory, and Daeyr can also focus on enjoying the smaller things in life, like sleeping in your own bed.