Her Dad Couldn't Attend Her Graduation, So She Crossed The Border In Her Cap And Gown To Meet Him
Sara knew her father would never get to see her walk across the stage to get her diploma, so she walked across the bridge to show him.
Sara Ruiz is the first in her family to graduate from high school.
Sara wanted to share the special day with her father, who was deported when she was a child, so the Laredo High School grad walked across the bridge connecting the U.S. and Mexico to meet him, wearing her cap and gown. Her cousin recorded the tearful reunion.
"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," Sara wrote when she posted the video on Facebook; it has been viewed over 3 million times.
"I gave him a hug and I just started to cry a lot," she said in an interview. "It's like I fulfilled the dreams of both my mom and dad to find better opportunities that they didn't have."
Sara and her father spent a decade apart after he was deported.
"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," she writes.
But things changed when she and her mother moved back to Mexico to be together as a family. "We bought a house and now [I] see him everyday," writes Sara, who would wake up at 5am everyday to cross the border to school in the U.S.
On her graduation day, Sara recalls that her father told her something she will never forget.
"He said that 'nobody could ever separate us, that only God could separate us.' That will forever be engraved in my mind."
"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," she writes.
Sara will be studying psychology and government at the University of Texas at Austin this fall.