Little Addie Rodriguez tried to hold back her tears during her cheer routine. But it was especially hard for the nine-year-old because this wasn’t an ordinary football game. The entire squad had their dads to join them during their performance—all except little Addie.
Addie’s father, Abel Rodriguez, is a senior Airman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He couldn’t make it to his daughter’s special day because he is currently training at Travis Air Force Base in California, located over a thousand miles away from his daughter in Texas.
Addie’s mother watched in dismay as her little girl tried to keep a strong face while cheering through the pain.
“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.”
But when all of the dads lifted their daughters up on their shoulders, Addie was the only one still on the ground—and it was too much for her to bear.
But then, something unexpected happened when a high school senior named Matthew Garcia noticed the lonely little girl and rushed to her side.
“I ran down from the bleachers right here, and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
That’s when Matthew lifted Addie onto his shoulders and held her up proudly with the rest of the squad.
Addie’s mother explained, “my heart just melted. It was just the most beautiful thing.”
Little Addie was so grateful for the young man’s kind gesture. She said,
“I just felt like somebody saved my life. I thought that’s so nice, especially since my dad’s serving for us.”
Matthew is proud to have been able to make her day a little brighter.