PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One camel, two luxury cars, three dates, a total of six custom made outfits, along with food and fun for everyone who attended made Johnny Eden Jr.’s Dubai themed pre-prom block party one fit for a king, and with a 25,000 price tag, you might say it was fit for a sultan.
“At first I was like, it was too much, I don’t really like a lot of attention but it’s worth it,” Johnny Eden Jr. said. “It was epic, man. I had my family out here. That’s all I really cared about is my family being out here. My mom did her thing, she was the real MVP.”
Saudia Shuler, Johnny’s mom, says her son is graduating from Simon Gratz Mastery Charter with a 3.8 Grade point average, and is a standout out on the basketball team and she wanted to do something special to reward him.
“I was just trying to pay honor my son, because he is such a good kid,” she said.
“He did everything I required of him, throughout his whole entire life from first grade all the way up to 12th grade straight A’s but always get a B in something dumb like gym,” she said.
Shuler says over the last few years, she fought and beat cancer, and suffered from a stroke.
“I was on my death bed a few years ago, she said. “My son took it real hard. He believed in Allah so bad. He is Muslim, I am not. So that is what kept him strong.”
So being able to send her son to prom is something she never thought she would see.
“I’m still going through health problems. I said, if I ever live to make it I’m going to put on a big prom and a big graduation for my son and I just prayed and I hoped I got to see my son go to graduation and go on prom, because I didn’t believe I was going to make it,” she said.
Shuler says she wanted to use the party to honor Johnny’s religion, and it is a move that’s getting mixed reviews.
“People think I was making a mockery of his religion. No, I was honoring the religion and honoring my son because that is what kept him strong for me,” she said.
She says bringing Dubai to North Philadelphia was not an easy feat, and was a process that was years in the making
“I saved for my son’s prom, and yes I splurged on my son,” she said.
Shuler says she originally was going to take Johnny to Dubai but she says by bringing Dubai to North Philadelphia would be able to make sure the whole neighborhood could enjoy the experience.