Over the years, John Cena has gone from a WWE star to pop culture phenomenon thanks largely to the fact that his heart is even bigger than his hulking muscles — he’s known just as much these days for his philanthropy and activism as he is for his moves in the ring. Still, nothing could have prepared us for all the feels we’d feel while watching Cena be surprised by some of his biggest (and littlest) fans.
The video comes courtesy of Cricket Wireless, who released the total tearjerker on Monday, Aug. 21. In it, Cena begins by reading letters from fans whose lives have been greatly impacted by the wrestler’s “never give up” motto.
One by one as Cena reads the notes, the camera cuts away to the fans who’ve written them… all tucked in a backstage area unbeknownst to the 40-year-old WWE entertainer. From a young man who was told he could never wrestle — or maybe even walk — again after an injury to a woman who struggled to adopt a child, the stories each prove poignant.
Cena is visibly moved but does a decent job of maintaining his composure.
Until, that is, he reads aloud a letter from a young boy whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The boy, who’s name is Tyler, reveals that he gave a wristband to his mother that had been handed off to him by Cena ringside. Along with the wristband, the boy repeated Cena’s mantra of hope to his mother: “Never give up.”
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At this point, Cena struggles to keep it together. Of course, that turns out to be a losing battle when Tyler bursts through a paper backdrop to thank his hero in person. As both the boy and Cena begin to cry, Cena wraps the boy in his arms. Moments later, Tyler’s mother joins them.
Shortly after, all of the letter-writers file in to express their gratitude to Cena, who calls the entire thing the “coolest surprise ever.”
Accepting a giant trophy from the group, he tells them, “Just remember that you guys do the work. Don’t think that you’re the only one who’s up against it, and don’t think you’re the only one who [has] challenges to face every day. You all lead by example, and I mean it when I say it: Don’t ever give up.”
Are you crying yet? ‘Cause, OMG, all the tears. We were pretty much already there before, but this heartfelt vid just cemented our John-Cena-fans-for-life status.