Girl takes grandpa to daddy-daughter dance

A video of Austyn asking her grandpa to the dance went viral in January.

Girl takes grandpa to daddy-daughter dance
Courtesy of Kelsey Woolverton
February 14, 2023, 11:42 AM

On Feb. 8, 5-year-old Austyn and her grandpa got all dressed up and attended a daddy-daughter dance together.

The special event had a Valentine's Day theme so Austyn wore a white dress decorated with red hearts for the occasion. She matched her outfit with a red bow headband, white corsage, and matching red pocketbook with red Mary Jane shoes.

PHOTO: Austyn wore a white dress decorated with red hearts, a red bow headband, and matching red shoes to the Valentine's Day daddy-daughter dance on Feb. 8.
Austyn wore a white dress decorated with red hearts, a red bow headband, and matching red shoes to the Valentine's Day daddy-daughter dance on Feb. 8.
Courtesy of Kelsey Woolverton

Her grandpa, Steve Guenther, sported a light grey suit with a matching red tie and white boutonniere.

PHOTO: Austyn gives her grandfather, Steve Guenther, a kiss on the cheek. The 5-year-old and her grandpa attended a local Valentine's Day-themed daddy-daughter dance together last week.
Austyn gives her grandfather, Steve Guenther, a kiss on the cheek. The 5-year-old and her grandpa attended a local Valentine's Day-themed daddy-daughter dance together last week.
Courtesy of Kelsey Woolverton

Austyn's mom, Kelsey Woolverton, captured the fun preparation and clips from the dance and shared it on TikTok, offering an update to her Jan. 16 post that went viral.

Woolverton told "Good Morning America" that she and Austyn were visiting her parents last month when the 5-year-old summoned the courage to ask her beloved grandpa a very important question.

"There's a Valentine's Day dance," Austyn began.

"But we need our dad to go there. My dad is not going to go. Will you go with me?" she asked.

PHOTO: Kelsey Woolverton captured the moment her daughter Austyn asked her grandfather to go to a daddy-daughter dance with her in a video that's now gone viral.
Kelsey Woolverton captured the moment her daughter Austyn asked her grandfather to go to a daddy-daughter dance with her in a video that's now gone viral.
Courtesy Kelsey Woolverton

Woolverton captured Austyn's conversation with her grandpa on camera and the rest is history.

"It was spur of the moment," Woolverton told "Good Morning America." "I just thought she would go ask him. She wanted to draw him a picture and I never thought she would have said all those sweet little things."

PHOTO: In addition to asking her grandpa to an upcoming daddy-daughter dance, Austyn also drew a photo of both of them at the event.
In addition to asking her grandpa to an upcoming daddy-daughter dance, Austyn also drew a photo of both of them at the event.
Courtesy Kelsey Woolverton

Woolverton's husband Mike Woolverton died four years ago. She said their daughter is "just like her dad" and they talk about him frequently and continue to keep his memory alive.

PHOTO: Kelsey Woolverton says her daughter Austyn is "just like" her late father, Mike Woolverton.
Kelsey Woolverton says her daughter Austyn is "just like" her late father, Mike Woolverton.
Courtesy Kelsey Woolverton

"We talk about her dad like it's the weather. So it was kind of funny that I even recorded it. I don't really know what prompted me to even start recording it but I'm glad I did," Woolverton said.

In the years since Mike Woolverton died, Austyn and Guenther, who both live in Papillion, Nebraska, have grown close. The duo now love to cook and watch football games together.

PHOTO: Austyn and her grandfather Steve Guenther share a close relationship. They regularly attend football games together and also love to cook together, according to Austyn's mom.
Austyn and her grandfather Steve Guenther share a close relationship. They regularly attend football games together and also love to cook together, according to Austyn's mom.
Courtesy Kelsey Woolverton

"Her and my dad get along so well," the 33-year-old mom explained.

"He would do anything for her," she added. "He never tries to replace that role obviously. Her dad's irreplaceable, but I'm really happy she has a male figure in her life to kind of be that for her."

Woolverton said she and her mom, who also appears in the background of the TikTok video, were both moved by Austyn's question.

"I was tearing up and I think my mom was tearing up, and then when I stopped recording, my mom and I ... we couldn't even look at each other because it was super sweet," she said.

PHOTO: Kelsey Woolverton describes her daughter Austyn as a funny and sensitive girl who is "always such a little helper."
Kelsey Woolverton describes her daughter Austyn as a funny and sensitive girl who is "always such a little helper."
Courtesy Kelsey Woolverton

Woolverton said she hopes her viral TikTok post helps "normalize" single-parent families like hers.

"There's been a lot of people that have reached out to me that have similar situations that have thanked me for just normalizing that and making people more aware that these daddy-daughter dances are great -- and I don't want to take that away for people that do have dads because I loved it when I grew up -- but just to make it aware that we shouldn't let people that don't have dads not go or be left out," she said.

She added, "This has kind of made me step back and realize those moments are really, really precious and I need to remember them a little bit more than I normally would."

This article was originally published on Jan. 25, 2023.