What happens when you’re a junior cheerleader, and one of the cheers involves your father lifting you up during one of the squad team activities, but your dad is almost 2,000 miles away?
If you’re nine-year-old Addie Rodriguez, high school senior Matthew Garcia steps in to pick up the slack.
That’s exactly how it went down recently in San Antonio, Texas at a home game for Central Catholic High School.
While Addie understood that her father was away in California training at Travis Air Force Base, she was nonetheless overcome with emotion to be the only girl with no one to pick her during the maneuver.
But suddenly, her hero arrived in Matthew.
“I ran down from the bleachers . . . and I hopped the fence . . . and I ran over and kneeled down and talked to her. I said, ‘Are you ok?’” Matthew told station KTLA in retelling the incident.
“I just saw him come to me, he said, ‘You can come sit on my shoulders,’” said an emotional Addie, as she recalled the special and generous gesture.
Addie’s mom was also very touched by Matthew’s kindness to her temporarily fatherless daughter.
“I just realized what he was doing, and my heart melted,” said mom Alexis, who has tried to explain to Addie that her dad is doing important work was he trains to protect his country. Rodriguez, a senior airman, has already done several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“. . . It’s not just an absentee parent,” explained Alexis. “He’s serving our country.”
For Addie, she now knows that even when her dad is so far away, she will always have a guardian angel as close as a bleacher at any future games.
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