9-year-old Addie Rodriguez was saved from heartbreak when Matthew Garcia, a senior at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, acted the hero. The fourth grader was performing for the secondary school when the other team promoters’ fathers went along with them on the field. As the other girls were lifted onto their fathers’ shoulders, Addie was left alone. Able Rodriguez, Addie’s father and Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, had left just days before to continue training at Travis Air Force Base in California.
Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie’s mother, felt helpless. “It was truly unfortunate 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.”
Watching his heart break before him, Matthew couldn’t just sit and watch. “I ran down from the bleachers right here,” he told reporters. “I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’” The little girl was about to fall apart when Matthew lifted her onto his own shoulders.
“When I realized what he was doing my heart just melted,” her mother said.