When a 9-year-old Texas cheerleader, whose absent father was training 1,700 miles away at Travis Air Force Base in California, began to cry during a football game, a high school boy did something incredible.
Addie Rodriguez, 9, is a cheerleader at St. John Bosco Elementary School in San Antonio. Addie’s dad, Abel Rodriguez, is a senior airman who has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to WAOI.
During a football game when all the girls’ fathers stepped out of the bleachers to lift their daughters onto their shoulders, Addie was left alone, reports KTLA.
Her mom, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, explained, “It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he’s away. It’s not just an absentee parent. He’s serving our country.”
It was a stark reminder that her dad couldn’t be there for her. Her eyes welled up with tears as she watched the other cheerleaders with their fathers.
“I just felt like really sad because I missed him a lot,” says Addie.
But Matthew Garcia, a high school senior, saw that Addie was still on the ground and visibly distraught. So he jumped over the fence to ask her if she was OK.
Garcia told WOAI, “I ran down from the bleachers right here. I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
He immediately realized what was wrong and lifted her up onto his shoulders so she wouldn’t feel left out.
“I realized what he [Garcia] was doing, and my heart just melted,” says Alexis. “It was just the most beautiful thing.”
The high school senior is just glad he could help make Addie’s day. And the 9-year-old was eternally grateful for what Garcia did.
“I just felt like somebody saved my life,” said the fourth-grader.
“She’s really tough and she understands that dad goes away for a reason,” says Alexis.