Things That Matter

Father And Daughter Celebrate Graduation Together On Bridge Between US And Mexico

Graduation is already a super emotional time. It marks the completion of often years of hard work and dedication. It also reflects the commitment and support of friends and family.

And for the Latino community, it’s a powerful reminder of the sacrifices and dedication from your parents because so many times they worked so hard to give us a life better than the one they had.

For one Laredo, TX student, it was an extra emotional night.

Credit: @ABC7 / Twitter

Sarai Ruiz recently graduated from Hector J. Garcia Early College High School in Laredo, TX and got to celebrate among her mother and friends, but there was one very important person missing from the celebrations – her father.

She told NBC News, “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. 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.”

Ruiz’s father, Esteban Ruiz, had been deported from the United States when she was just four years old.

Though she now lives with both of her parents in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Ruiz continued to attend school in the United States, which meant crossing the border bridge every day to get her education.

Since her father couldn’t attend her graduation ceremony, she wore her cap and gown to meet him on the border bridge.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Sarai met her father after on the Gateway to the Americas Bridge so he could see her in her graduation attire.

I gave him a hug and I just started to cry a lot,” she told NBC News. “It’s like I fulfilled the dreams of both my mom and dad to find better opportunities that they didn’t have.”

Ruiz shared a video of the moment on Facebook, which has since gone viral.

Credit: Sarai Ruiz / Facebook

It’s been viewed more than 3.4 million times since May 25, writing, “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.”

The journey to graduation has not been easy for Sarai.

Sarai was born in Wisconsin and spent the first seven years of her life there, first with her mami and papi, and later with just her mother after her father was deported.

She moved to Laredo, Texas with her mother when she was seven to be closer to her father, and later to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, so their whole family could be together.

Twitter lit up at news of the emotional story.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

People were thrilled for the young graduate and many were moved to tears by her story.

Others questioned how innocent families are suffering through these heartbreaking stories.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Some pointed out that stories like this will only become more common as the Trump administration continues its policies of keeping families apart.

Ruiz plans to continue her studies at the University of Texas at Austin this coming fall.

And she wants everyone to know that her story is not unique, that she is one of many similar stories out there.

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