Carolina Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey and his father Ed surprised two special fans on June 17.
Gunnery Sergeant Jeremy and his adopted daughter, Senior Airman Ella received a very special Father’s Day gift on Wednesday, just before the weekend holiday. Both — whose last names are withheld because they are active duty soldiers — are dedicated Panthers fans, and were visibly thrilled in a video posted to Twitter by McCaffrey.
Dads and father figures play such a huge role in the paths we choose. Great to work with @USAA and the @USOofNC to surprise a @Marine and his daughter – who also chose to serve – for #FathersDay. Thanks to all those who guide and inspire us. #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/0AaLP8z1ub
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) June 17, 2020
“Dads and father figures play such a huge role in the paths we choose. Great to work with @USAA and the @USOofNC to surprise a @Marine and his daughter – who also chose to serve – for #FathersDay,” McCaffrey wrote. “Thanks to all those who guide and inspire us.” Below it, a video of the encounter.
Both were set down at respective computers, with the recipients unaware of who would show up on the other side of an impromptu video call. “Today’s a special day,” McCaffrey said, seated beside his father — former Panthers wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. “We have the honor of surprising two active duty military members.”
“Been paying a lot of attention to Christian McCaffrey, how he’s been training during the pandemic,” Jeremy said just before the call began. “It seems he’s trying to be a well-rounded player.” A moment later, he and his daughter were beaming and laughing as McCaffrey and his father appeared on-screen.
“Just want to say thank you guys so much for your service,” McCaffrey said, “we really appreciate it. Happy Father’s Day to you.” Asked when she knew she wanted to follow in her own father’s footsteps, as McCaffrey had in his own, Ella confirmed that she knew the moment she was old enough to sign.
“For me, I realized when I turned 18, it was time to be an adult,” she remembered. “We have a really good life as a military family, why not just keep it going?” McCaffrey compared it to his own experience, attending games and “having a blast in the locker room” as he grew up.
Ella highlighted her adoption as another layer of meaning for the day. “He chose to take me on,” she said, visibly emotional. “It is very meaningful, because he chose to be my dad.” Beside her, Jeremy wiped away tears. “There aren’t many higher callings, you know,” he affirmed. “I have deployed, I had a lot of responsibility on my name, and there’s not really a greater calling out there than to be a family man — to be a father.”