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The sweet story behind viral video of teen surprising her prom date

The high school senior made a huge step in her health recovery.

by Julie Pennell / / Source: TODAY

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Eighteen-year-old Morgan Coultress had a seriously wonderful prom.

The San Antonio high school senior surprised her date by walking for the first time in 10 months. The beautiful moment was caught on camera.

The video, which Coultress posted a few weeks ago to Twitter, has gone viral with more than 13 million views.

“When I posted the video, I didn’t think I would wake up the next morning and it’d be blowing up,” she told TODAY.com. “But it did, and the comments about me being an inspiration have really touched me. I have all of this support from people I don’t know.”

Coultress had thyroid surgery at the beginning of last summer and a week later, noticed that her legs felt very weak and heavy. “Within four or five hours, I couldn’t lift them,” she said. “They didn’t want to move.”

Doctors ran tests but they couldn’t identify a cause. Coultress began physical therapy almost immediately and has been working hard since then to regain control of her legs.

Morgan Coultress
Coultress said her goal was to be able to walk on her own for prom.Courtesy of Morgan Coultress / Courtesy of Morgan Coultress

One day while in the hospital, she got a call from one of her peers, a young man named Tarik Garcia. They had run cross-country together at school the year before.

“We never really spoke to each other, and he graduated and went off to college,” she said. “So when he called me to catch up, I thought he knew (about my medical condition), but he didn't.”

Coultress said his call was a blessing in disguise.

“I told him what went on, and the next day he came to the hospital to visit me. I know his support through this whole thing has really helped a lot," she said. "I don’t know what I would do without him.”

As she continued with physical therapy, she set a goal to be able to walk for prom. She knew she wanted to go to prom with Garcia.

Teen walks for first time in 10 months
Morgan Coultress and Tarik Garcia pose for pre-prom photos.Courtesy of Morgan Coultress

A week before prom, she took a few steps on her own during physical therapy. “It was so scary and so amazing at the same time,” she said. “When I came home that day I showed my family and they all said Tarik was going to freak out and that we have to surprise him.”

And that’s exactly what she did. When he came to the door, she greeted him by walking towards him without her forearm crutches.

In the video, Garcia — holding a corsage in one hand — is visibly blown away with excitement as he runs over to hug her. “He was just so shocked and amazed,” she said.

Coultress said that she feels so blessed.

“I know my faith has really helped me through this time and kept me going through these ten months,” she said.

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