Houston police officer asks girl in wheelchair to dance at quinceañera
A Houston Police officer is being applauded after he asked a young girl in a wheelchair to dance while attending a quinceañera this past weekend.
Sandy Fernandez told CBS News he was working security at the dance on Saturday when he noticed the young girl, who was watching others dance.
He said she would smile and laugh each time she passed the dance floor, and he would smile and wave at her when she did.
After passing three or four times, he said she took to the dance floor with her mom and began dancing in her chair.
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“I said, ‘OK she can dance. Later on I can probably see if she wants to dance with me,'” he said he thought to himself. “She stole my heart.”
When she passed him again, he asked her to dance.
Video captured by DJ Juan Mancha shows the officer holding her hand, spinning her around in her chair, during which Fernandez said she smiled the whole time.
They danced for a few songs.
“He told me I was pretty. I told him he was nice,” Saori, 5, told KHOU11 in Spanish. “He told me that he liked my shoes. And I had Minnie Mouse shoes.”
In a Facebook post featuring the video, which has since gone viral, Mancha wrote, “This is why I love my job.”
Mancha told KHOU11 the video sends a powerful message.
“I was just so motivated by it, because nowadays everybody just doesn’t trust the cops, and I was DJing and I stopped everything I was doing because it grabbed my attention,” he said. “Looking at him just asking her to dance, she couldn’t believe it.”
“She just kept looking at him and he started dancing with her, and I said, ‘Oh, I got to get this moment.'”
Fernandez said he didn’t just get a good dance partner, he even got a flower from the girl. He returned the favour, however, giving her a flower of her own.
Despite their dance, he said he still doesn’t know the name of the girl.
“We were just following the music and the moment,” Fernandez said. “She was just a sweetheart. I mean, I’ve never seen someone who could be so approachable and sweet … She had a positive vibe.”
Saori’s mother, Maria Moreno, said she would not forget what Fernandez did.
“Truthfully it made me happy because he was dancing with her,” she said. “Despite being in her wheelchair she tries to have fun and to see him make that gesture to dance with her, it’s truly a beautiful thing.”
The video, which first captured the moment, has been viewed more than 73,000 times as of Tuesday evening. It was also shared by the Houston Police Department, which thanked Mancha for sharing the video, saying, “This is what #relationalpolicing is about!”
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