Students posing at Rocky statue surprised to meet Sylvester Stallone

The actor shared a video posing with a group in front of the bronze statue.

December 18, 2019, 2:09 PM

A group of students and staff visiting the City of Brotherly Love had an epic photo opp at the base of the "Rocky Steps" with the man who inspired the larger-than-life bronze statue.

Sylvester Stallone shared a video on Twitter and Instagram of the moment he walked up to the sculpture of his iconic fictional character, Rocky Balboa.

Darrin Johnson, an instructional assistant at the Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside High School, who was a chaperone for a class' day trip to Philly, told ABC News they arrived to take pictures and someone said they just missed the Italian Stallion in real life.

"We see two Escalades followed by two police cars and all of a sudden we see him jump out and it was just pure pandemonium," Johnson said.

As Stallone walked up to the statue that he donated to the city after filming "Rocky III," he welcomed the group of over 30 excited students to "gather around" and get in for a picture.

"It's great to be home here," Stallone said in the video as he raised and flexed his right arm. "Hands up," he prompted to the people surrounding the 8-foot 6-inch tall cast.

Maria Rodriguez Mendez, one of the 11th graders in the video visiting from Paterson, New Jersey, said they were were stunned by the chance encounter after a passerby earlier told them they just missed the legendary actor.

PHOTO: Sylvester Stallone surprised a group of students visiting his famous bronze statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dec. 16, 2019.
Sylvester Stallone surprised a group of students visiting his famous bronze statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dec. 16, 2019.
Paterson Public Schools

"One gentleman yelled out, 'I told you he's coming back,' and I hear this loud scream from a big Sylvester Stallone fan and see this gentleman walking towards us," John Super, the school's vice principal said. "I thought, 'is this real or are we being punk'd?'"

Super explained that the "Rocky" star was apparently at the iconic location "filming a Super Bowl commercial up at the top of the steps," which were closed just before their group arrived.

Johnson called Stallone "a really gracious man and all around nice guy" which he said was on full display with the time the actor took to chat longer and take plenty of fun photos.

"He got with the students and tells them, 'keep punchin' never give up,'" Johnson added. "That was such a great thing to teach them -- it was a very memorable day for all the students, and the adults."

The group of students were in town to visit the Reading Terminal Market that afternoon when they took a quick detour to see the famed statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The video, which was first shared on Twitter Monday, has been viewed nearly 200K times and has over 14K likes.

"The kids got to see a real movie hero," Super said. "And he turned out to be a real hero to all of us that day."