Nine-year-old Addie Rodriquez was in the middle of cheering at a football game when the time came for all of the girls’ dads to lift them up on their shoulders. It was a father’s night she will never forget—because hers wasn’t there. Her Air Force veteran dad, Able Rodriguez, had to leave just a couple days prior for training in Travis Air Force Base, California.
As Addie stood there all alone, she couldn’t help but start sobbing in the middle of the field.
“It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he’s away,” said Addie’s mother, Alexis. “It’s not just an absentee parent. He’s serving our country.”
“I just felt like really sad ’cause I missed him,” said Addie through a stream of tears.
But little did she know, a teenage hero was watching her from the stands. A senior at Central Catholic High School, Matthew Garcia, saw the heartbroken little girl and refused to let her stand alone.
He ran down from the stands, jumped the fence and rushed to her rescue.
“I ran down from the bleachers right here,” said Garcia. “I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
After talking to her for a moment to make sure it was okay, he whisked her atop his shoulders and proudly played the stand-in for Able who was 1,700 miles away from their Texas home.
“My heart just melted,” said Alexis. “It was just the most beautiful thing.”
“I just felt like somebody saved my life,” Addie said of the chivalrous gesture. “I thought that’s so nice, especially since my dad’s serving for us.”
See more from Addie’s heartwarming story in the News 4 San Antonio interview below: