Four days after winning the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles took to the streets of the City of Brotherly Love to celebrate their victory with millions of fans on Thursday morning. Among the many parade-goers was one fan who quietly paid respects to his sweetheart by carrying her ashes through the crowd.
While he was looking for a spot near City Hall to watch Nick Foles and the team celebrate their dramatic win over the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII, Eagles fan Dustin Javier noticed a man in a hoodie carrying an urn through the flocks of Philly devotees lining the streets. The man, who Javier learned was named Dennis, said the urn held the ashes of his late wife, Becky, who followed her hometown Eagles and would’ve loved to see them finally bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
“She was a diehard Eagles fan,” Dennis said, according to a viral Facebook post. “I had to make sure she was here for this.”
Soon after Dennis shared his wife’s story with Javier, a touching moment unfolded in front of them—Javier says a police officer walked up to Dennis and handed him a beer, then pointed to a group of about a dozen men across the street. The officer said the drink was from them.
“The officer then let him know that it was from the fans across Broad Street when they raised their beers when he looked over. Dennis was pretty happy about it,” Javier, 41, tells PEOPLE. “He was standing a little in front of me, so I didn’t see how he emoted about it, but from his voice, it sounded to me like he reacted rather jovially to their gesture.”
Witnessing the special moment was especially meaningful for Javier, he adds.
“I lost my mother recently,” Javier says. “While she wasn’t the biggest Eagles fan, I wish she could have been here for this as well.”
The Super Bowl celebration in Philly stretched almost five miles through the city and featured a parade of Eagles players atop of double-decker buses greeting almost 2 million fans in attendance. Many of the Philly-faithful likely never thought they would see a Super Bowl victory just a few months ago when the team’s star quarterback, Carson Wentz, was ruled out the rest of the season with an ACL injury before the playoffs.
But backup quarterback Nick Foles led the team through two more victories in the regular season, and then the playoffs, before playing the game of his life against Tom Brady and the Patriots on Sunday.
While Javier— an IT support technician from Oreland, Pennsylvania—says it was fun celebrating the victory, his run-in with Dennis and the spontaneous kind gesture he witnessed was a moment he will always remember.
“It definitely was one of the best parts of my parade experience,” he says. “Sure, seeing our heroic players come by and cheering them on for finally bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia was fun and all, but experiencing first hand that kind of camaraderie among the fans is really what that day is about and what being sports fans is really about.”