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Exhausted dad sleeps under son's hospital bed after working overnight shift

A dad's dedication to his sick 1-year-old son was captured in a sweet photo of him sleeping under the boy's hospital crib after working an overnight shift.
/ Source: TODAY

While a job on the night shift eventually comes to an end, the job of being a dad is never done.

For Pennsylvania father Andre Palmer, 30, seeing his 1-year-old son at York Hospital this week was more important than getting some sleep after working his overnight shift.

"There's no other place I would've rather been,'' Palmer, who works from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. at York Container Company, told TODAY.

A.J., who has asthma, had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday because his oxygen levels were low.

After knocking off work early Tuesday, Andre dropped off his daughter Aaralynn, 4, at daycare and then came to visit his little boy.

Pennsylvania dad Andre Palmer made sure the first thing he did after working an overnight shift was to see his son, A.J., in the hospital.Courtesy of Amy Palmer

Exhausted, he decided to just doze off for about 20 minutes in the space beneath his son's crib.

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"The nurses and doctors come in about every hour, so I didn't want to lay down in the middle of the room and be in the way,'' he said. "They're not there to accommodate me, they're there to take care of other sick children."

His wife, Amy, 33, who had been sleeping in a chair beside A.J.'s crib, snapped a photo of Andre and then posted it on Facebook, writing, "This is a picture of a hard working man dedicated to his family!! After working all night third shift, he's right here with his son who is in the hospital. He's so tired but he's here!!"

Amy Palmer, shown here with husband Andre and children A.J., 1, and daughters Aaralynn, 4, and Aligha, 16, snapped a heartwarming photo at the hospital out of gratitude for Andre's dedication to their family.Courtesy of Amy Palmer

"He would do anything for our kids,'' Amy told TODAY. "He's such a good father."

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Amy has received a number of messages from people saying the photo of Andre's dedication warmed their hearts.

A.J., who is 20 months old, had been suffering from complications related to his asthma and had to be hospitalized for three days.Courtesy of Amy Palmer

"It's really sad in a way to me because people find this so out of the ordinary, which means there's a lot of children out there who don't have this in their life,'' Amy said.

The couple have three children together, including their oldest daughter, Aligha, 16.

A.J. is now happily back with his family after his hospital stay.Courtesy of Amy Palmer

"To me, I signed up for this when I decided to be a father,'' Andre said. "Mothers and fathers do this every day, so I don't want to take away from all the parents who have sick children and are dedicated to them."

A.J., who returned home from the hospital on Tuesday night, got a nice surprise when he woke up that morning.

"A.J. was sleeping when Andre came, but the first thing he said when he woke up was, 'Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!'' Amy said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.