31-year old Tom Littledyke from Lyme Regis is a former UK Royal Marine who decided to personally help Ukrainian refugees by driving 1,000-miles in his 16-seater minibus. He loaded it with pillows, sleeping bags, and toys, all for civilians who had to flee their hometowns into neighboring Poland and other bordering countries to keep safe from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After Littledyke saw families torn apart after Putin began bombing Ukraine, he pledged to help after seeing photos of “families broken and separated by the conflict.”
He also explained in an interview with BBC that he wanted to show the refugees that they weren’t alone, and that he wanted to bring them “a tinge of hope and warmth.” He added, “There’s always something we can do.” And he definitely did something.
After setting up a fundraiser, it took only 12 hours to fill up his entire minibus with loads of supplies, collecting £4,000 in donations, which equaled around $5,300, for his trip.
He began his drive on February 28th, wanting to personally deliver the goods to the displaced families. The 1000-mile drive will bring him and his loot through England, France, Germany, and Poland, before he arrives at the border of Ukraine. At the moment, more than 1.3 million Ukrainians have now fled, and are considered refugees in bordering countries. And this isn’t the only time that Littledyke plans to use his vehicle to help. He plans to use his bus to give voyage to those who need rides to their temporary homes or shelters.
Littledyke told BBC, “Too often do we think that we have to do something grand and if it can’t be grand what’s the point. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as it’s something in the right direction. There’s so many of us who want to help, it will all build to this gigantic thing.” And when they asked him about how he felt about the drive, whether he was scared or not, he shared, “I’m full of emotions and clear drive… I’m inspired by how inspired people have been to make this happen.”
Littledyke, who owns two pubs and an Italian restaurant with a friend, shares that his partner will handle the business while he’s gone.
And just like he said, in times like these – especially in times of war – no deed is too small and there’s something to say about the kindness of strangers that proves that humanity is indeed, amazing.
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