It was a graduation for thousands of students across the metroplex, but one picture posted online has thousands of people applauding a graduation attendee.
A Reddit user posted a picture of man who said he stood and clapped for every single TCU graduate this weekend.
The post reads:
“I told him jokingly no one in the whole stadium was clapping more than him. He smiled, then his response:
'Hey man, lot of these kids ain’t got nobody to support them. I never had anyone to support me, so I’m gonna make sure all these kids got somebody to support them and what they’ve done, even if it’s just me.'"
WFAA learned that man is 68-year-old Andrew Thomas. Thomas is a retired Fort Worth city worker who now helps staff big events at TCU. Thomas said he was inside the stadium on Saturday watching the graduates, when he remembered a story from his daughter Annissia.
“My daughter graduated in 2015 from a small school called Prairie View A&M University,” Thomas said. “And she started telling me before the graduation we attended about kids. About being homeless, not having family, and couch surfing, just doing whatever they had to do. And beyond all odds, they made it, they graduated. They didn’t have family there to congratulate them. They were there by themselves.”
It was that story that served as motivation for his applause this weekend.
“Even an elite school like TCU, we don’t know all these kids’ stories,” Thomas said. “All these young people. We don’t know what motivated them, we don’t know who they’ve got to support them, we just don’t know."
When hundreds of kids walk across a stage, clapping for all of them can prove to be quite a task. But for Thomas, it is well worth it.
“I’m grateful for them. And I know they deserve everything they’ve got,” Thomas said. “They worked hard for it.”