Subscribe To Dad In Afghanistan Can’t Make Daughter’s Dance, Sends Beauty And The Beast Character Instead Updates

While the live-action version of Beauty And The Beast did a sublime job of recreating the magical dance between the two titular characters from the 1991 animated classic, it has now been trumped by a 5-year-old girl and an unknown man in a costume. The young girl in question was Gracee Nelson from El Paso, Texas, who was so heartbroken that her father would still be in Afghanistan for her father-daughter dance that her mother Lanya hired the Beast character to escort her instead. Footage and photos of Gracee as Belle stood alongside the Beast soon started to go viral, and now you can check them out and try not to immediately bawl over them, below.

Gracee's father Christopher Nelson has been working as a contractor for the Army in Afghanistan since the beginning of March. Just a few weeks after he'd started his deployment, it emerged that Gracee Nelson's school would be holding a father-daughter dance that Christopher wouldn't be able to get back for. Lanya Nelson explained to ABC News that because the rest of her family live around 10 hours away from El Paso, she was soon running out of options. All of which was further compounded when Gracee started to weep uncontrollably after she was told that her father wasn't going to be able to take her to the dance.

But just when she was on the verge of spending around $400 on a plane ticket for Gracee's uncle so that he could take her to the dance, Lanya was struck with a moment of inspiration. She recalled,

It was one of those moments you knew she was going to remember. I wanted it to be happy memory, not a sad memory. The theme of the dance was Beauty and the Beast. And I'm like, 'What if I contact the school and ask them if we can hire a character to take her?' They thought it was such a wonderful idea.

Lanya hired the character from Magical Moments Events, a company that specializes in Birthday Parties, and the person involved truly went above and beyond in his role. Not only did the Beast dance with all of the other children at the soiree, but the character even posed for pictures, too. This immediately seems to have made Gracee the most popular girl at the dance. Especially since Gracee looked utterly adorable as Belle, too, something that you can see for yourself in the image below.

Belle of the ball

A post shared by Lala Nelson (@lalanelson18) on

But the most touching moment came when the pair swayed along to the title song from Beauty And The Beast, which you can check out here. Lanya also face-timed her husband during this dance to make sure that he was part of the special moment. And while Gracee Nelson revelled in being taken to her first ever father/daughter dance by one of Disney's most iconic characters, at the end of the night she still told her mother that she'd have rather gone with daddy. No, you're crying.

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