The daughter of a coal miner won’t let him come to her graduation party because she thinks he’s “dirty.” He still goes and talks to her on the mic, telling her something that makes her cry and feel bad about what she told him.
“Okay, I’ll call you later… dad’s come,” Sabrina, who was 18, stopped talking to her friend as soon as she heard her coal miner dad, Pete, park his van in the garage.
She kept changing the channel on the TV to try to get away from Pete. She hoped that he wouldn’t ask her about her graduation, which was in two days.
Pete wasn’t invited because Sabrina was embarrassed by how he looked. She was afraid that her dad would get bad attention because he looked “dirty” and smelled like coal and sweat.
“Hey, darling! “Hey, look what I got for you!” said Pete as he walked in, sounding happy.
Sabrina was shocked, but she didn’t say anything. Even though she liked surprises, she didn’t like seeing her dad’s face and hands all black. She never let him touch or get dirty any of her things.
Pete understood Sabrina well. Since she lost her mother a few years ago, he’d been doing it. So he gave Sabrina her space and respected her boundaries. Instead, he left the two packages on the table and said, “Sweetie, I hope you love them.”
When Sabrina saw that her dad was no longer around, she quickly opened the box and found a beautiful dress inside. She started to blush because she liked it. Then she opened the other box and saw an expensive suit inside.
“Dad, thank you for the dress. Who is this suit for?”
“Honey, it’s for me! I need to look great… after all, it’s your graduation!”
Don’t feel bad about the people who gave their lives for you.
Sabrina pressed her lips together in anger. She threw the box and said, “Dad, I don’t want you to come. All of my friends will be there, as well as their parents. I don’t want them to make fun of me when they see you, okay?”
As Pete walked out of the bathroom and wiped his face, there was a dead silence all around him. He was shocked, and Sabrina’s words hit him like a ton of bricks.
“What did you say?”
“Dad, the fathers of my friends come from good families. All of them are rich and look like famous people. I don’t want you to stand there looking like a mess, dad. I hope you get what I mean. No matter how well you dress, anyone can tell from your dirty face and hands that you work in a coal mine. I don’t want to make them laugh. Don’t come to my graduation, please.”
Pete was so upset because he really wanted to go to the event.
“Thanks for the dress, though. I love it!” Sabrina went to her room and slammed the door to try on the dress, leaving Pete with more than just heartbreak.
Pete thought that Sabrina was too young to realize how much he loved her. He told his broken heart, “She’s still a little girl.” He then decided to still go to the grad party and give her the tear-jerking surprise he’d already planned.
Two days after the day of the graduation…
“Honey, can I at least take you to school?” Pete asked Sabrina. He was so happy that she was finally graduating because she looked so pretty.
“Drop me?? No need, dad. In his car, my friend Dave is coming to pick me up. I don’t want my dress to get dirty in your dirty van.”
“Alright! “Have a great day, honey!”
“And Dad, please don’t come, okay? I don’t think you will. Bye…see ya!”
Pete waited for Sabrina to leave so he could quickly get ready for the event and go.
“How can I miss such a big day in my daughter’s life? I can’t miss it!”
Pete got there right after that and sat down in the area for the parents. When students were given awards, he cheered. He was so excited for Sabrina to get hers.
The host said, “Next, we’re going to call Miss Sabrina Parker!”
Pete ran up to the front with his phone and started filming as Sabrina got her diploma. Sabrina was surprised to see her dad, but he was so happy.
“Congrats, darling!” Pete kept yelling from the floor. “I’m very happy for you!”
But Sabrina didn’t smile or react. She instead moaned and went to join her friends. She couldn’t wait for the ceremony to be over so she could get mad at her dad for coming.
She heard the host say, “Mr. Parker, would you please come on stage?”
When Sabrina saw Pete walk up to the podium, she was shocked and didn’t know what was going on.
“Why is he asking my dad to come up to the stage?” Oh no… “What’s happening?”
Pete walked up to the stage and took the microphone with a smile.
“Thanks, Mr. Lauren! Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!” Pete began. “Can we please have the slideshow?”
When the lights went out and the projector rolled, both the audience and Sabrina were shocked. Pete had made a beautiful video with pictures of him and Sabrina from when she was a baby until right before she graduated. He talked to the school’s principal and staff the day before the ceremony and told them he wanted to surprise his daughter. So, he was given the green light to surprise Sabrina as soon as she got her diploma.
“I love my little girl. I’m so happy for you, Sabrina. I hope that if your mother were here today, she would be just as proud of you. If Emma happens to be here, she can see for herself. You told me I couldn’t raise my daughter on my own, but I don’t think any other dad could be as proud of his daughter as I am right now. Congrats, Sabrina… we did it!”
When Sabrina saw the video, it made her cry. As everyone stood up to cheer for him, she ran to him. She gave him a big hug and sobbed, “Thank you so much, dad!” I apologize.”
Pete wiped away her tears and then had a good time for the rest of the night. Sabrina remembered that Pete had talked about her late mother on the way home. His words made her worry.
“Dad, why did you say that mom would be happy to be at the graduation party? She’s been gone for a long time, so how will she show up? ”
Pete laughed as he looked at Sabrina. “Honey, your mother is not dead. She is still alive and lives here. ”
When Sabrina heard that her mother had died, she was shocked. But it was all a lie, and Pete didn’t want his daughter to find out the truth about her mother until she was old enough to understand.
“WHAT? IS MOM ALIVE? Dad, why didn’t you tell me? ”
Pete knew it was time to tell the biggest lie he had ever told.
“Because she didn’t want you. She told me that the man who gave you life had died. She told me it was up to me to decide if I wanted to raise you or leave you at the shelter.”
Pete and his wife Emma had gotten a divorce when Sabrina was young. Emma told Pete that their daughter was not his before they moved on. Pete was sad, so he decided to raise the girl as his own.
“I couldn’t see you as the child of someone else. Pete cried, “You were my whole world, and you are still my whole world today.”
When Sabrina heard this, she ran to Pete and cried on his shoulder. “You’re not really my father, are you?”
Pete hugged her back. “Sweetheart, I may not be your real father, but I love you just as much. Forget what I just told you. No matter what happens, you will always be MY DAUGHTER.”
“I’m sorry, dad. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m ashamed of myself. I called you ‘dirty’ and ‘smelly’ without knowing about your sacrifices for me. What would have happened to me if you hadn’t taken care of me and raised me? Please don’t punish me.”
Pete dried Sabrina’s tears, and then he and Sabrina rode home. When they got there, Pete invited all of his friends and neighbors to his house to celebrate his daughter’s graduation.
Pete and Sabrina never talked again about what happened in the past. Sabrina was surprised to find that she no longer felt bad about her dad. She was proud of him and knew that he wasn’t a disgrace, but a good man who loved and cared for her when her mother left her.