Diana Segura Lerma, 19, didn’t know that her dad woke up at 3.30 a.m. to get on the road

By People Staff
May 20, 2020 03:08 PM
Credit: SWNS

A devoted dad drove 1,000 miles to spend just half an hour with his daughter to wish her a socially distant happy birthday during lockdown.

Julio Cesar Segura, 53, spent 17 hours on the road driving from El Paso in Texas to Austin, Texas, and back for Diana Segura Lerma.

He made the epic journey for a socially distant lunch on her 19th birthday.

The realtor drove eight-and-a-half hours each way — 1,152 miles — on May 8, to have just half an hour with Diana - before heading home.

Julio called his daughter to wish her a happy birthday and pretended he was just ordering her favorite takeaway lunch — a spicy chicken sandwich from fast food chain Chick-fil-A.

“He told me that since he couldn’t do much he wanted to know what I’d like for lunch and he would send an Uber Eats order," Diana said. “I texted him what I wanted — the chicken fillet sandwich with pepper jack cheese, buffalo sauce and mayonnaise."

Credit: SWNS

“He brings me that sandwich for lunch on my birthday every year — so far he hasn’t missed a year," she added.

What Diana didn’t know was that her dad had actually woken up at 3.30 a.m. to get on the road in time to surprise her with the same birthday lunch she has every year.

Julio, from El Paso, said: "I left my house at 4.15 a.m.. I was missing her and I wanted to give her a surprise. I decided to go the day before. I love her and I wanted to make sure she had a good birthday."

Stunned Diana opened the door to her apartment building expecting to find a delivery driver, but was amazed to see her dad there with balloons and a happy birthday sign.

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“He showed up with the food and a poster board and balloons. I was so excited," Diana said. "I haven't seen him in months, since winter break. I didn’t think that I would see him again until August."

“He has always been someone who loves gestures," she added. "But I never imagined he would do this in a pandemic.”

Julio told Diana that he didn’t want to go into her apartment for health reasons, and so the pair enjoyed their meal outside, sitting six feet away from each other.

“We went to a little terrace and there were chairs that were really spread out," she said. “We ate several feet apart.”

After just half an hour with his daughter, Julio hopped back into his car and drove the 576 miles back home.

Diana admitted it was difficult to not hug her father after he had come such a long way to wish her a happy birthday.

“He drove for so long and I wasn’t even able to give him a hug," she said. "When you see a loved one and they come so far to see you, it’s your instinct to hug them.”

"I was the driving the whole day but I was so happy on the way back," the father said. "She deserved a good birthday."