9-year-old Addie Rodriguez is a elementary school cheerleader.  She was cheering on her team on the field at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio last weekend when she burst into tears.  The other cheerleaders were joined by their parents.  The mothers did a routine with the girls and then the fathers came out of the stands to hoist them on their shoulders for a special cheer.  Addie’s dad, 25-year-old Abel Rodriguez, serves in the military as a medevac tech in the Air Force.  He couldn’t be there.  Watching Addie cry in that moment was absolutely heart breaking.

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Credit: http://www.today.com

But what happened next turned those tears of sadness into tears of joy.  Matthew Garcia, a senior at Central Catholic, ran down from the bleachers, knelt down in front of her to tell her “I’m going to pick you up too,” and hoisted Addie up on his shoulders like all the other fathers.  Addie was really thankful!

Addie said later, “He saved my life, mom!”  Addie’s mom said, “I just broke into tears when I realized what he was doing, I couldn’t even talk.”

Matthew Garcia, 17, said going through his parent’s divorce when he was young made him compassionate toward Addie.  “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.”  Garcia continued, “Seeing her smile after the way she was crying, that probably made my day even more than hers, to be honest with you.”

Matthew Garcia lifted up Addie and the rest of us in America who love this viral story of compassion. Please share this video with your friends.