Graduate meets dad on border bridge as he couldn't attend ceremony
A Texas high school graduate met her father on the US-Mexico border bridge as he wasn't able to attend the ceremony.
Sarai Ruiz even kept her graduation gown on as a surprise for her dad who was deported from the US when she was only four years old.
This is the moment Ruiz meets her father on Laredo International Bridge after graduating:
Originally from Wisconsin, Ruiz eventually moved to Mexico with her mother where she was able to have a closer relationship with her father.
A Nuevo Laredo resident, the 18-year-old crossed the US border every single day to attend Hector J. Garcia high school in Laredo, Texas.
Ruiz graduated high school on Friday, but the only member of her family who could attend the ceremony was her mother.
"As I looked over at my mom that day as my principal was speaking, I couldn't help but to see other parents there for their kids, and it wasn't just a mom," Ruiz told NBC News. "It was mom and dad, or mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. And it really did hit home for me. I knew that my dad couldn't be there."
Determined to make her father as much a part of the celebratory event as her mother, Ruiz asked to meet him on Laredo International Bridge.
When they met on the bridge, the pair tearfully embraced one another while the heartwarming encounter was filmed.
Ruiz posted a video of the emotional moment to her Facebook page the next day, and it has since racked up more than 3 million views.
"I graduated today," the young woman explains in the caption to the video. "I tried so hard not to cry when we saluted our parents knowing that only my mom was there..I knew my father would never see me walk to get my diploma but today I’d thought I’d surprise him by crossing the bridge so he could see me with my cap and gown."
"I have to say that all my life I wondered if my dad would ever see me graduate..it started as not seeing him on Father’s Day then it continued to be a spiral of downhill emotions where I would only see him once a year.. and then things changed I moved to Laredo..and I got to see him every weekend..we bought a house and now I’d see him everyday..today I can say that although we may have lost father and daughter time..I will always be grateful for his sacrifice to put his life at risk many times just to see me again.. gracias por todo papá."
Ruiz plans to continue her studies at the University of Texas this coming Autumn, NBC News reports.