The young girl who'd always dreamed of going to the dance thought she'd never get the chance after her father passed away over the holidays.
When school resource officer Nicol "Nick" Harvey saw posters advertising an annual father-daughter dance, he couldn't help but feel a little sad that he'd never be able to enjoy it with his daughters again. It was an event he'd always looked forward to, but now that all three of his girls were grown up, he had no one to take. The 43-year-old, who works at Central Elementary School in Van Buren, Arkansas, had just about resigned himself to never experiencing the special event again when fate brought 8-year-old Avey Cox into his life.
According to TODAY, Avey lost her dad, Corey Cox, over the holidays on January 6. "They were very close," revealed the second grader's mom, Angelia Bernard. "Avey wanted to go to the dance but didn't have anyone to take her." Avey and Harvey's paths crossed when Van Buren police chief Jamie Hammond sent an email to his school resource officers with the suggestion that they volunteer to escort students without dads to the event. Harvey immediately loved the idea and reached out to the guidance counselor who informed him of young Avey. She had always dreamed of going to the daddy-daughter dance before her father's death.
"I reached out to the mother. The mother came and said it was okay because the last thing I wanted to do was to get rejected by a second-grader. So her mom talked to her about it, and the next day I formally asked if she'd be my date to the daddy-daughter dance," Harvey told KGO-TV. Avey graciously accepted the officer's offer. "I was excited because I never ever went and it would be my first time, and I actually been wanting to go," the 8-year-old gushed. Wanting to make the event an unforgettable experience for the young girl, Harvey got busy planning everything from his outfit to their ride to the school.
"I bought a new tie and handkerchief to match Avey’s dress and I ordered a corsage. Every time I saw her at school, she’d remind me of how many days it was until the dance," he revealed. As a special surprise, Harvey and a few other dads chipped in to rent a Hummer limousine for the dance that was held on February 10. They also treated the kids to a pizza dinner before the dance and Avey could hardly stop smiling throughout the evening.
"It was nice to watch Avey just taking it all in," Harvey beamed, adding that it was the young girl's first time riding in a limo. Speaking of her first-ever daddy-daughter dance, Avey said, "It meant a lot because I actually got to go and see all my friends there and then I got to go with him and have a lot of fun." It was an unforgettable night for the officer as well as the adorable duo made a lot of memories on—and off—the dance floor. "I embarrassed myself a little bit—I can't dance at all," he confessed.
However, for Harvey, the highlight of the evening was a special moment he and Avey shared at an ice cream shop after the dance. "Another little girl that was with our party asked, 'Is this your dad?' and Avey said, 'No, this is our school resource officer.' I looked at Avey, and then I said, 'Well, tonight I'm her dad,'" he recalled. "I know she’s not my kid, but for a couple of hours, it felt like she really was. I even get to twirl her. We’ve really become best friends through all this."
The young girl's mother revealed that Avey hasn't stopped smiling since the event. "It was such a bright spot in the hard month we've had. Avey keeps saying it was the best night ever," she said. Reflecting on the special night on Facebook, Harvey expressed gratitude to his job for making moments like this one possible. I am so blessed to have been placed in a position where I get to have moments like these. Tonight, I had the absolute honor of escorting this amazing and beautiful little girl, Avey to the Daddy-Daughter Dance. We had so much fun riding in an awesome limousine, eating dinner and letting loose and being goofy. We danced like we just didn’t care and got to spend time with friends and other dads. I love my job for so many reasons. But reasons like this make my job the best job for me. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, he wrote.