2021 had been a tough year for Audrey Soape. After the death of her father in March, followed five weeks later by her grandfather, the 11-year-old struggled to cope with the pain of sudden loss.
Her mother, Holly Soape, knew the Texas middle-schooler could use something to lift her spirits, so she came up with an idea.
Ahead of their church’s daddy-daughter dance in January, Holly reached out to Philadelphia Eagles safety Anthony Harris via social media and asked if he could be Audrey’s date to the event.
She knew it was a big ask. But to her surprise, the athlete responded and said he would come!
True to his promise, Harris, 30, showed up to the dance all spruced up, wearing a black suit and matching shoes. Holly asked him in particular because he was Audrey’s favorite football player.
The family had long been fans of Harris, dating back to his days with the Minnesota Vikings. They would often reach out to him through social media to offer their prayers.
“[I was] just trying to be a human,” Harris told NBC 10 about his kind act. “Trying to take off the helmet, trying to take off the cape of what I do professionally and just show some sympathy for that family and try to show some support there.”
At first, the NFL star wasn’t sure if his schedule would allow him to attend. But after the Eagles were defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in the first week of the playoffs, he had enough free time to bring Audrey to the dance.
“I told him about the situation, and surprisingly he was more than willing to do it,” Holly said. “It happened really fast. He said yes probably about a week before, so it was kind of a whirlwind.”
Harris, who joined the Eagles last year, did more than just fly in and show up. He also paid for Audrey’s dress, hair, shoes, and makeup!
“He had a car with a driver, come to the house and pick her up,” Holly said. “He really wanted to make sure she had the best possible time.”
Needless to say, Audrey felt like a princess all night—which is exactly what Harris was going for.
Knowing how busy an athlete could be, Audrey is extremely grateful to Harris for clearing his schedule to be with her.
“A normal player would probably be like “I don’t have time for this. I have to be focused for next season or the playoffs,”’ Audrey said. “But he took time out of his schedule to take me, so that was pretty special.”
It’s natural to feel shy around your idols, and Audrey was no exception.
“I was very nervous because I didn’t know what I was going to say,” she recalled. “At first it was kind of awkward because we weren’t talking yet… But then he kind of came up and started talking to me.”
Harris broke the ice by asking Audrey about her day and talking about football.
Holly is just glad to be able to give her daughter this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I was so anxious and excited for her because she just had the most terrible year,” she said. “For someone to show up and to teach her that people do show up for you, it’s just been beyond a blessing.”
Harris is also grateful to have had the opportunity to make Audrey’s night extra special.
“You gotta cherish these moments. You never know how long we have here on this Earth,” he told CBS Philly. “So, the people that you care about and you love, show support for them.”
Aside from dancing with Audrey, Harris also made time to meet her brother, Jackson.
“It made me feel really happy and feel special because he didn’t only come over just to go to the ‘Daddy-Daughter Dance’ with Audrey, he came over to see me, too,” he said.
And as for his dance moves? Turns out, there were Audrey-approved.
“They were very good,” she said with a laugh.
Indeed, this is a dream come true for the young girl! Check out the video below to learn more about this story.
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