Texan Addie Rodriguez is a nine-year-old cheerleader whose father is an American soldier.
Addie’s father, Abel Rodriguez, is a senior Airman who has fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s currently training at Travis Air Force Base in California, Fox 29 reports.
Being over a thousand miles away from his wife and daughter in San Antonio made it impossible for Abel to be with the other fathers of the cheerleaders on Addie’s squad, who had joined their daughters on the sidelines during a football game:
“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.”
As Addie’s mother, Alexis, tells Fox 29, her daughter did her best to keep cheering through her tears. Unfortunately, when the other dads hoisted their daughters up on their shoulders, Addie remained on the ground.
That is until a high school senior sitting in the stands jumped the fences onto the field to ask her what was wrong:
“I ran down from the bleachers and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down. I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
From there, senior Matthew Garcia hoisted Addie onto his soldiers.
Addie tells Fox 29 that at first she was “freaked out and scared,” then Addie’s mom realized what Matthew was doing:
“My heart just melted. It was just the most beautiful thing.”
And people on social media can’t say enough about Matthew’s heartwarming reaction:
“To the parents of that boy….you did GREAT!!! You raised him with such compassion. Wish more kids were like him. Three cheers to him!!!!!”
“I love this story and that young man is awesome!”
“Wow, KUDOS to the Parents of this young man! When this reaches the deployed father, [I] hope it lifts his spirits while he is away! BLESS THEM ALL!”
“This is just plain awesome!! Way to step up young man. This just made my day. And for someone he probably didn’t know. Thank you son.”
Addie admits the extremely kind gesture made her feel like he was “saving her life,” and Matthew is just happy that he was able to make Addie’s day a special one.