Last month, the parents of Kazzie Portie were riding their motorcycle in Orange, Texas, when they were stuck by a pickup truck and tragically killed. The driver of that truck was charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Police officer Eric Ellison had the terrible task of informing 18-year-old Kazzie of his parents’ passing, and as he sat with the devastated teen, Ellison learned that Kazzie was just a week away from graduating high school and that he didn’t think he could go to the ceremony without his parents there.

That’s when the officer made a promise to the teenager. “I said, ‘You are going to walk [to accept your diploma]!'” Ellison told Buzzfeed. “Your mom and dad will have front-row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place. I’ve got your back.”

The Texas cop followed through. He stood at the end of the stage and hugged Kazzie after he received his diploma as the entire school cheered and applauded in a heartwarming standing ovation, turning something that could have been dark and depressing into something at least a little brighter.