Texas Teen Helps Cheerleader in Tears Because of Military Father’s Absence
Some are calling Matthew Garcia, a senior at San Antonio's Central Catholic High School, a hero after he saved 9-year-old cheerleader Addie Rodriguez from heartbreak at a football game earlier this month.
Addie was performing with her squad when the other girls' fathers came onto the field to hold their little girls on their shoulders. But Addie's father wasn't there. He was over a thousand miles away, undergoing training at Travis Air Force Base in California.
Addie's father, Abel Rodriguez, is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. Addie's mother, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, told WOAI-TV in San Antonio that she "missed the memo" about parent day, because she and her daughter were coping with Abel having to leave.
“It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away," Alexis told WOAI. "It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country.”
Addie looked devastated, but Matthew wasn't about to let her stand out there alone.
“I ran down from the bleachers right here, and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down," he told WOAI. "I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’”
Matthew then lifted Addie onto his shoulders, standing in for the father who couldn't be there because he was serving his country.
“I just felt like somebody saved my life,” Addie told WOAI. “I thought that's so nice, especially since my dad's serving for us.”
It's proof that even small gestures can be heroic.