High school grad goes viral with video embracing dad at border
© Facebook | Sarai Ruiz

A high school graduate went viral over the weekend with a video showing her embracing her father at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sarai Merari Ruiz, who graduated from Hector J. Garcia Early College High School on Friday, posted the video of her surprising her father and crossing the bridge in her graduation regalia, The Laredo Morning Times reported. 

"I graduated today. 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," she wrote in a Facebook post.

The emotional moment went viral over the weekend and was viewed more than 1.8 million times as of Tuesday morning.

Ruiz told the newspaper that she is originally from Wisconsin, but moved with her mother Luisa Ruiz to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to be close to her father. She would cross the border into Laredo, Texas, every day to attend classes. 

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"When I was 4 years old my father was deported and we decided to move to Nuevo Laredo, to be close to him," Ruiz said. "That's why I cross every day to go to school."

Ruiz plans to study psychology and government at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, the newspaper reported.

"I know it will be hard for my parents to go to another city, but my mother says that I must follow my dreams and that they will support me in everything I do," she told the outlet. 

The viral post comes shortly after another graduate’s tribute to her parents gained widespread attention on the internet.

Erica Alfaro, who earned her master’s degree from San Diego State University, posed in her cap and gown with her parents in strawberry fields in Carlsbad, Calif., one of several locations where they have worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I dedicate my Master’s to my parents with great affection,” Alfaro said in a Facebook post. Alfaro earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Marcos in 2017 after becoming a mother at 15 and surviving domestic violence.