Two adorable pictures showing a father walking his son to his first day of kindergarten, and then to his dorm room on college move-in day, has melted the hearts of thousands on social media.
Charles Brockman III, 17, posted the side-by-side photographs to his Twitter account as a tribute to his father, Charles Jr., who has walked or driven him to school virtually all of his life.
“I just wanted to post that picture to thank my dad for always being there during everything we went through,” Brockman, of Plano, Texas, tells PEOPLE. “He and my mom are really special to me.”
Brockman’s tweet has amassed some 63,000 retweets and more than 260,000 likes since it was posted on August 13. Many commenters were quick to point out that Charles Jr. had amazingly held on to the same stylish dreads he had when Brockman was a child.
“He started growing dreads when I was born, and maybe a few years ago he was talking about cutting them,” Brockman says. “Then he said he would wait until I graduated high school, but I’m sure he’s going to keep him as long as he can—at least I hope he does, they’re pretty cool!”
When they weren’t marveling at Charles Jr.’s dreads, Twitter users praised the family for continuing their loving tradition:
You made it. You survived. You are here. Keep your head up. And I am sorry that you went through that.
And while being caught outside of school gates with parents would be a nightmare for most teenagers, Brockman says he always looked forward to taking a picture with his mother, Sherry Brockman, and his father.
“They would always drop me off in front and have me take a picture, even if people were looking,” Brockman says while laughing. “Even if it was a little embarrassing, I still did it because it was a good tradition.”
Brockman recently graduated from Plano Senior High School and is starting his freshman year at Mississippi State where he’ll be running track and studying broadcast journalism and communications. If you’re wondering why Brockman didn’t end up driving himself, he says he was so busy running track during high school that he only managed to get his driving permit and not his license. But now that he practically lives on his school’s campus, driving won’t be a problem anytime soon.
The attention the tweet received has been surprising to Brockman (at one point, all of the notifications froze his phone), but he wants all those who see the picture to remember one thing—to value the time they have with their family.
“Don’t take anything for granted with them,” Brockman says. “Appreciate your parents, while they’re here.”