Five-year-old girl creates lasting bond with surprise dance partner at birthday

(ABC NEWS)- At young girls’ big birthday parties and coming-of-age celebrations, almost everything is planned out, from the outfits to the guest list to the playlist.

But at one Quinceanera, something that was unplanned warmed thousands of hearts.

On Saturday, Saori, 5, was sitting on the sidelines at her family friend’s party. She couldn’t dance like the rest of the kids there because she has spinal bifida and requires the use of a wheelchair.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to move. In fact, she loves to dance and as the disc jockey mixed a lively birthday playlist, Saori and her mother started moving to the beat.


Across the room, Sandy Fernandez of the Houston Police Department was monitoring the scene as he worked an extra gig moonlighting as a security guard.

He couldn’t help but notice the little girl waving at him, smiling and then waving at him again. Finally, he went over to say hello. When Saori reached out her hand to him, he couldn’t say no.


“The next thing, we just started dancing, having fun. I can see her smile. I could see her eyes smile in the moment … bringing a smile to her face,” Fernandez told ABC News. “You can’t really say no to a little girl with that smile. It’s just like … your heart just starts pounding.”

They danced two whole songs together — both bearing wide smiles and holding tightly. At the end, they exchanged flowers, which were all scattered on the dance floor — a gift the young girl treasured.

“At the end, I just went to my knees and gave her a hug, and she reached out and grabbed a flower and gave it to me,” Fernandez said. “So I gave one back to her.”

Little did either of them know that Juan Mancha, the disc jockey, had seen their sweet connection and caught it all on camera.


Mancha posted his video on social media, wanting the world to see the magical moment between a little girl and a police officer.

None of them expected the video to take off the way it has — it’s been viewed and shared more than 100,000 times, and the Houston Police Department reposted it.

Fernandez and Saori promised to keep in touch. On Friday, Fernandez offered to treat Saori and her mother to dinner.

“You would think that you’re bringing a smile to this girl, but she actually brought joy to me,” Fernandez said. “She brought joy, and that was something I can’t describe with words.”


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