9-year-old Addie Rodriguez was spared from grievousness 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 alternate young ladies were lifted onto their fathers’ shoulders, Addie was allowed to sit unbothered. Rodriguez, Addie’s dad and Air Force veteran who served in Iraq, had left days before to keep preparing in California.

Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie’s mom, felt powerless. “It was awful to see your girl emerging there being the just  single without their dad, knowing why he’s away. It’s not only a non-attendant parent. He’s serving our nation.”

“When I understood what he was doing my heart simply softened,” her mom said.