Participating in school activities like sports can be very beneficial for children. They learn teamwork and how to be a good sport. They make friends and memories. They also learn something that they can be proud of, and in many cases they’re eager for their friends and family to come watch them participate in their chosen sport.
Addie Rodriguez is a 9-year-old cheerleader at St. John Bosco Elementary School. While she loves having her parents watch her perform, her dad isn’t always able to be there. Abel Rodriguez, Addie’s father, is a 25-year-old medevac tech who has been in the Air Force for about 7 years. Sometimes he’s traveling and u nfortunately has to miss some of Addie’s events.
One day Addie was at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas. She was performing with her cheerleading team during a game against her elementary school’s football team against rival St. Luke Catholic School. This was no ordinary performance though. It involved the cheerleaders’ parents.
At one point during the performance, the cheerleaders performed a dance routine with their moms. Then, it was time for the dads to participate. All of the dads lifted their daughters up on their shoulders, that is, all of the dads except for Addie’s dad.
At the time, Addie’s dad was at Travis Air Force Base in California for training. Addie was sad that her dad wasn’t there to lift her up on his shoulders like all the other dads, and she started to c ry. Thankfully, someone watching in the stands came to Addie’s rescue.
Matthew Garcia is a 17-year-old senior at Central Catholic High School, where the game was being held. He was there watching his little brother, who was playing for St. Luke Catholic School. When he saw Addie crying and realized that her dad wasn’t there, something in him compelled him to act and to act fast. He literally jumped a fence and ran out onto the field to ask Addie if it was okay if he lifted her up on his shoulders since her dad wasn’t there.
When she saw what was ha ppening, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie’s mom, started to c ry happy t ears. The 25-year-old mother told TODAY, “I just b roke into t’ears when I realized what he was doing. I couldn’t even talk.” Alexis added that her daughter “was kind of sh’ock’ed and sca’red at first, but then when he k nelt down to tell her, ‘I’m going to pick you up, too,’ she was really happy and thankful. She said, ‘He s aved my life, mom!’ He made her feel so good about herself.”
Watch the video below to hear Addie, her parents and Matthew describe this experience and what it meant to them.