Newlywed Hugo Rohling has been using a wheelchair ever since he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident five years ago. But he was determined to dance with his bride, Cinthia, on their wedding day—a romantic tradition that has long symbolized the harmony with which the newlyweds begin their new life together.
With incredible focus, conviction, and a little creativity, Rohling did just that. And his family was there to support him—literally. The unforgettable moment took place toward the end of the Brazilian couple’s first dance to Sam Smith’s ballad “Make It to Me.” Rohling’s father and brother took seats on either side of Rohling’s chair and bound their legs together with straps. With arms interlocked, the three men looked at each other, smiled, and then stood up together to a round of cheers from the wedding party. Cinthia swanned over and put her arms around her new husband’s neck, burying her face in his chest, as all four of them swayed to the song. Wedding guests beamed as the overcome bride cried tears of joy. Cinthia is clearly moved, not only by the ability to dance while standing cheek-to-cheek with her new husband, but also by her new brother-in-law and father-in-law’s act of love. As the trio embraces Cinthia, they also welcome her into their family.
What Rohling’s family did that day embodies why we at NIVEA believe it’s so important to act from a place of softness even when life is hard. Especially when life is hard. Because acting out of love, compassion, and tenderness is powerful. It has the ability to create moments that will last a lifetime, and to unite us all. Rohling stood with his bride for only a few seconds, and yet none of us are likely to ever forget the impact of his brother and father’s gesture.
A video of the touching moment filmed by wedding guest Cristian Peña Lopez went viral within a few hours of him posting it on Facebook, calling it the “most beautiful thing” he’d ever seen. The video was watched more than 16 million times by people all over the world.
Why did so many people respond so strongly to the sight of Rohling’s family helping him dance with his bride? Perhaps it’s because Rohling’s brother and father put themselves in a position of softness in order to create a special moment for the newlyweds. At NIVEA, we believe that being soft is anything but weak, and that asking for help is a sign of strength. Rohling’s act of courage and his family’s offer to help is a reminder to all of us that it’s the small, soft things—an encouraging word, a gentle hug, a first dance to remember—that warm our hearts, and make a difference in people’s lives.