Utah dad Ben Sowards is an early contender for Dad of the Year honors after what he did for his little girl last week, many people on social media have decided.
Sowards’ 6-year-old daughter, Valerie, had an “accident” at school on Friday. When Sowards’ wife called and asked him to pick her up at school, he knew his little girl would be embarrassed.
“My heart kind of just broke,” Sowards told BuzzFeed News.
So before he went to the school he wet the front of his pants with water.
His 17-year-old daughter, Lucinda, shared the story on Twitter, where her dad has been hailed as a hero by thousands as the story has gone viral.
“Honestly, I knew she was mortified, but I thought if I could make her laugh everything would be fine,” Sowards, a professional illustrator who teaches at Southern Utah University, told The Huffington Post.
When he got to the school, Valerie had walked to the office with a coat wrapped around herself to hide what had happened.
He asked his daughter whether he could borrow her backpack to hide his own “accident.”
“She was totally exasperated. But once she saw my pants, I got that look from her where I knew everything was OK. All dads know what look I’m talking about,” Sowards told the Huffington Post. “And we just strolled out of the school like nothing was happening.”
When the story hit Twitter, some people compared it to a scene in the movie “Billy Madison” where Adam Sandler purposefully pees his pants to spare the feelings of a little boy who accidentally wet his.
But Sowards, who said that scene might have been tucked somewhere in his subconscious, said, “When you’re a parent you work on instinct.”
Lucinda has benefited from that instinct herself. She told reporters that she fell while skating on a school trip a few years ago and got a black eye. When her father FaceTimed her, he had painted a big black eye on his face.
She said her little sister is doing fine after all this attention. Lucinda had teased her that she might go viral when Lucinda posted it online Friday. Overnight, her Twitter post went from 300 retweets to more than 12,000.
“She’s learned to laugh about it and thinks what my dad did was hilarious,” said Lucinda.
Sowards has a lot of experience with attending to the feelings of a child. Lucinda is the oldest of 11 children in the Sowards family, many of whom are foster children.
On Monday the Sowards adopted four of their foster children.