ROTC Teen Literally Lifts Spirits of Cheerleader Who Misses Military Dad
Lifestyle| | By Brian Delpozo
9-year-old Addie Rodriguez was on the verge of tears missing her military father, until an ROTC teen stepped up.
The girl is a member of a youth cheerleading squad that has a very special tradition for it’s members. Once a year, the girls’ mothers do a special routine with them when their fathers come out onto the field and lift their daughters on their shoulders for a special cheer.
While the performance is a special moment for many, Rodriguez was dreading it. Her father, Abel Rodriguez, was unable to be there for the celebration as he’s currently serving in the Air Force. As the moment of truth approached, young Addie found herself in tears.
Watching from the crowd, Matthew Garcia felt the need to do something despite cheering for the opposing team. The high school senior, being both an ROTC member and a child of divorce, was particularly sympathetic to Rodriguez’s plight.
“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. It was instinct, I guess. I just couldn’t see her like that,” he told Today.
The teen ran down to the field, and after asking the girl’s permission, Garcia lifted her onto his shoulders for the finale. The moment was emotional for all involved.
According to her mother, Alexis Perr-Rodriguez, her daughter said, “He saved my life, mom!”
The 25-year-old mom went on to say of Garcia’s gesture, “I just broke into tears when I realized what he was doing. I couldn’t even talk.”
Speaking after the fact, Garcia himself said the gesture was more than worth it. “Seeing her smile after the way she was crying, that probably made my day even more than hers, to be honest with you. When Addie thanked me after the game, it was just really moving to me.”