A video of a touching hug shared by a graduating high school student and her deported father on a border bridge is tagging on the hearts of many across the world.
Last week, 18 year old Saraí Ruiz attended her graduation ceremony with her mother and other family members in attendance. However, one of the most important people in her life, her dad Esteban, could not attend.
Esteban Ruiz, was not allowed to attend his daughter’s event because he was deported to Mexico more than a decade ago.
After the graduation ceremony, Saraí , still wearing her cap and gown, walked up Puente de Las Americas (Gateway to the Americas Bridge) on the US and Mexico border to greet her father and celebrate with him.
Saraí posted the video of the moment on Facebook with the caption, “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.”
Esteban was deported when Saraí was just 4-years-old, leaving Saraí with only her mom, who is a US citizen, for a while. The family first moved to Laredo to be closer to Esteban, but eventually the whole family moved to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to be with Saraí ’s dad.
This meant Saraí had to wake up at dawn everyday to cross the border daily to attend Hector J. Garcia Early College High School in the U.S.
Talking to KGNS, Saraí said, “It’s hard to wake up early, like at 5 a.m. just so you can cross and go to school, and then cross back in the afternoon.”
Writing on Facebook, Saraí thanked her family for their sacrifice. She said, “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 [Thanks for everything dad].”