All it took was a simple hoist.
What was supposed to be a joyful moment between fathers and daughters left Addie Rodriguez in tears.
The 9-year-old was among cheerleaders performing with their mothers at a football game, and now it was the fathers’ turn to come out of the stands and perform.
However, Addie’s father, Abel Rodriguez, wasn’t coming. He’s in training at Travis Air Force Base in California and couldn’t attend.
But as Addie stood there with tears in her eyes, a friendly face offered her a hand. Actually, a pair of hands.
A member of the opposing school came out of the stands, now identified as Central Catholic High School senior Matthew Garcia, and lifted her up, like the other fathers were doing for their daughters.
“I just broke into tears when I realized what he was doing,” Addie’s mother, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, 25, told the TODAY Show on NBC. “I couldn’t even talk.”
Garcia later told the station that going through his parents’ divorce when he was younger made him relate to her. He was at the game to watch his younger brother play against Addie’s school.
“I understood what it was like to not have a dad there, so when I saw her crying like that, it just struck a chord with me,” Garcia told told the show. “It was instinct, I guess. I just couldn’t see her like that.”
After the act of kindness, Addie’s mom posted a thank you on social media.
Rodriguez told WOAI, “I felt like somebody saved my life. I thought that’s so nice, especially since my dad’s serving for us.”