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Proud Immigrant Mom Wells up When Daughter Shows Her Loving Thank You Message on Graduation Cap

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A proud mom who is a first-generation immigrant welled up when her daughter showed her a loving message of thanks written on her cap at graduation.

Marilin Martinez from Miami, Florida, left her native Cuba to move to Canada when daughter Dailys Suraste was five years old, before sending for Dailys who was living with her grandmother in the interim.

The family then moved from Canada to Miami to be with Daily’s aunt, and eight family members lived in a two-bedroom apartment.

Marilin was a doctor in Cuba, Dailys, 30, said, but due to language barriers in the U.S., she initially had to pick up jobs in cafeterias and as a cleaner.

Dailys shows off her bespoke graduation cap thanking her mom. ©T&T Creative Media
Mom Marilin hugs her daughter after seeing the message on her graduation cap. ©T&T Creative Media
Mom and daughter together. ©T&T Creative Media

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Over time, Marilin, 55, trained to become a nurse – and along the way she taught her daughter English and the value of education.

When it was time for Dailys to graduate from Florida International University, she wanted to provide a special tribute to her mom.

On her cap she wrote, “Para mi mama que llegó sin nada y me lo dio todo,” which translates to: “For my mom, who arrived with nothing and gave me everything.”

Before showing her mother, Dailys admits she was a “nervous wreck,” and then when Marilin saw the message, on May 1, she welled up before Dailys began to cry.


Daily said: “I knew I wanted to surprise her before we went inside the auditorium, so I arrived to my graduation first.

“I told my boyfriend to grab the phone and start recording.

Dailys and her mom Marilin when she was young in Cuba. ©T&T Creative Media
The pair on vacation. ©T&T Creative Media

RELATED: First-Gen College Grad Gives Emotional Speech Thanking Parents

“When I met up with my mom in front of the auditorium to take pictures, I asked her to read my cap and turned around and let her read it without telling her that it was for her.

“When she read it and I turned around and I saw the look on her face and she hugged me, I immediately cried – every time I think about the moment I cry.


“I was not expecting that video to go viral since I don’t really use social media.

“But the message has touched so many people in a positive way and I have received nothing but beautiful messages of people identifying with our immigrant story and people reminiscing about everything our parents had to sacrifice to give us a decent life.”


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