ALVORD, Texas – While he walked his daughter to her final day of school, a Texas father held back tears as memories overwhelmed him.
Jason Gayler of Alvord, Texas, was going through old pictures when he found one of him walking his daughter, Brittany, to school on her first day of kindergarten. She was just 5 years old.
Now, 13 years later, Jason and Brittany recreated that moment, walking to school together on her last day as a senior at Alvord High School.
Brittany called it a “bittersweet” moment that she’ll “remember forever.” She posted a side-by-side comparison of the photos on May 25. So far, it’s gotten nearly 14,000 retweets and more than 61,000 likes on Twitter.
“When I posted the tweet and going back and forth through the pictures, it just amazes me how fast it goes by. It feels like yesterday that we were taking that first picture,” Brittany told Today.
Her father, who’s now 38, told Buzzfeed that it was an “emotional day” and that he was “holding back tears” while walking with his daughter.
“It brings me great joy if we were able to help people think back to that time, even if just for a brief moment, and smile,” Jason told Today. “I can hope one day when I’m old I can look back at this and smile!”
Jason said many people remarked that he hadn’t changed much over the 13 years between photos–with some asking if he was “Benjamin Button,” the Brad Pitt movie character who ages in reverse.
“My first reaction was, ‘Have you seen him in person?”’ Brittany joked on Today. “But I do have to be honest. When I went back and looked at the pictures, I did notice that he still looks young.”
Brittany plans play softball and continue her education at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.