In an ideal world, police officer Lt. Eric Ellison and high school senior Kazzie Portie would never cross paths.
But Ellison became a special kind of support system for the recent graduate after a tragedy reshaped the teen's entire life.
On May 24, both of Portie's parents were killed when a 29-year-old drunk driver in Orange County, Texas smashed into their motorcycle, reports 12News.
Ellison, one of the first at the scene, was tasked with updating the Portie family with the painful news.
When he reached their home, Kazzie – the youngest of five – was home alone.
Ellison explained the situation to Kazzie, telling WTSP it was the hardest thing he's done in more than two decades of law enforcement.
The 18-year-old, in shock, expressed his concern for attending his high school graduation a week later.
Kazzie didn't need to worry because Ellison came to support him.
Ellison told WTSP,
I walked up on the stage he looked at me and I looked at him and we both cried and that's OK. I told him, 'You're going to walk and your folks are going to have a front row seat and I'm going to be there.'
Portie's fellow students made a particular effort to support their grieving friend.
LCM Bear Facts, the Twitter page of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School's student newspaper, added,
You are so loved, Kazzie Portie.
Ellison told the press, "Sometimes life is not fair, but you have to go on and I think Kazz is going to do that."
Ellison posted a proud tribute to the graduate on Facebook. To date, it's received more than 300 shares.
A video from the graduation shows the standing ovation Portie received from his classmates and their families.
Citations: Cop Who Told Teen His Parents Had Been Killed By Drunk Driver Steps in to Attend His High School Graduation Just Days Later (Daily Mail)