Last year was a tough one for Audrey Soape and her family.
The 11-year-old from Austin, Texas, lost her father and her grandfather within a few weeks of each other. Her family has been in mourning ever since, so when a formal father-daughter dance at their church came up, her mom, Holly Soape, was determined to make it an event Audrey would never forget.
Audrey is a big football fan who has followed the career of Anthony Harris for years. Holly decided to reach out to Anthony, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, via his charitable foundation.
The NFL star agreed to escort Audrey to the dance right away, but there was a catch. In order for his schedule to clear up in time for him to go, the Eagles would need to lose!
As luck would have it, his team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Bad news for Eagles fans; great news for Audrey! Soon one of Anthony’s reps called Holly to arrange the details, sharing that the NFL player wanted to pay for everything, including Audrey’s dress, shoes, hair, and makeup!
“All of it was just a fairy tale and amazing,” Holly said.
Audrey admits she was “super nervous” in the days leading up to the dance, but her excitement overshadowed her fears. On the night of the big event, Anthony showed up in a suit with a gigantic smile on his face. He treated her like a princess all night long, quieting her nerves and putting her at ease.
“He was very nice,” Audrey said. “When I was super nervous, he made it feel like less nervous to be around him, and it was really fun. And as the night went along, it got a lot more less awkward.
“Every time I think he could see she was getting nervous, he would just engage in conversion with her,” Holly said. “He kept her laughing, he kept her dancing on the dance floor, they ran around the church doing a scavenger hunt, just playing games, really made the whole night just really incredible for her because you could tell she was very nervous to start with. But she warmed up right away, he made it great for her.”
“The smile never left her face as she felt like a princess being twirled around the dance floor by her favorite person,” Holly later wrote on Instagram. “The kindness and generosity shown by Anthony was remarkable and I know she’ll never forget this night. Thank you for helping turn this heartbreak into magic and gifting us the blessing of a lifetime.”
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