A football game in San Antonio is making news for something other than a controversial national anthem protest. A 9 year-old cheerleader was left alone on the field during a moment when the rest of the girls were hoisted into the air by their fathers.
This girl’s father wasn’t there, becasue he’d been deployed. But a high school student who saw the girl’s plight, jumped over the fence, rushed onto the field, and lifted the crying girl up onto his shoulders.
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Addie Rodriguez was cheering at a football game for Central Catholic High School when the incident occurred. The other cheerleaders were met on the field by their fathers, who lifted the girls onto their shoulders. Yet Addie’s father couldn’t be there.
“[I] missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason [I] missed the memo was her dad left [for military service] Wednesday,” Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie’s mother, said.
Abel Rodriguez, who has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is a senior airman currently working at Travis Air Force Base in California.
“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.”
This is where Matthew Garcia, a senior at Central Catholic High School, stepped in.
“I ran down from the bleachers right here,” Garcia said, “and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
Then Garcia put Addie on his shoulders and lifted the girl up.
“And then I realized what he was doing,” Alexis said, “and my heart just melted. It was just the most beautiful thing.”
“I just felt like somebody saved my life,” Addie said. “I thought that’s so nice, especially since my dad’s serving for us.”