SAN ANTONIO — Thursday night, the Kent family was taking cover in a stranger’s garage on San Antonio’s northwest side after their Airbnb rental home was struck by lightning and set on fire. Friday night, they were reclining in a private cabana at the water park in Morgan’s Wonderland. They attribute the 180-degree turn in their story to the hospitality of the San Antonio community.

Emily Kent said for more than a year, it’s been her son, Damien’s, dream to experience Morgan’s Wonderland. The trip from their home in Utah to San Antonio took six days, and only a few hours after arriving, they were already packing to turn back. When the lightning strike set the rental home on fire, they had nowhere to go and couldn’t afford an additional three-night hotel expense. Just before they decided to head home, the generosity came pouring in.

“We heard a bang, but didn’t know what it was. Then the neighbor next door started banging on the door saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to get out of there! Your house is on fire!’” Kent said.

That neighbor provided shelter in her garage while another bought them pizza for dinner. Delissa Delgado, a manager for O’Brien Historic Hotel, saw their story on KENS 5 and immediately reached out and personally paid for the family to stay three nights at no cost to them.

They came all the way from Utah to take [Damien] to Morgan’s Wonderland, and I wanted him to go to Morgan’s Wonderland,” Delgado said.

The staff at Morgan’s Wonderland treated the Kents to a VIP experience at the park, providing a private cabana with complimentary refreshments and easy access to Inspiration Island and Harvey’s Hideaway.

“[Damien] has been wheeling around in his waterproof wheelchair saying, ‘Yum yum yum yummy yummy’ all day today,” Kent said.

He was all smiles and happy sounds. Other surprises were gifted to the family, but those community members requested to remain anonymous in order to keep the spotlight on the family.

“I’m very thankful to the people of San Antonio. They really love us. They’re really helping us,” said Jennifer Nielson, Damien’s aunt.

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