Soldier Stuck in Airport Watches Wife Give Birth to Daughter Over FaceTime: 'We Were All Cheering'
During a flight delay on May 5, Brooks Lindsey took a seat on the floor of Terminal B at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and pulled out his iPhone. Unlike others who might have been watching Netflix or YouTube to pass the time, the wide-eyed soldier was watching something life-changing: a live feed of the birth of his daughter.
The emotional scene captured the hearts of those in the airport, including Tracy Dover, a mother of two from Mississippi who took a picture of the special moment as it unfolded.
“I look over and I see him sitting there and he’s on the phone. Then I hear the sounds coming from the phone that sound like doctors and nurses, and someone having a baby,” Dover, 49, tells PEOPLE. “I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, his wife is having a baby over the phone!’ He’s sitting there wiping his eyes and my heart just breaks. I wanted to fix it so bad for him, and there was nothing that we could do but to let him have his time.”
Dover says that other passengers in the terminal quickly gathered what was happening and stayed quiet out of respect for Brooks.
“Once he was done, he hopped up and we were all cheering,” Dover recalls. “It’s Mississippi, we hug. Everyone’s hugging him and patting him on his shoulder. Everybody’s talking to him, and he was beaming. He just has this big, pretty smile and he was just beaming and everybody was all excited for him.”
The next morning, Dover posted the picture she took of Brooks — still dressed in his Army uniform — to social media, in the hopes that it might shine a light on the sacrifices those in the military make for their country.
“It was really wearing on my heart because I thought we focus so much on the negatives and that’s really all we ever see,” she says. “We forget about these guys and what they do for us and what they’re sacrificing for us.”
The photograph of Brooks quickly went viral, receiving about 122,000 shares over Facebook and more than 225,000 reactions on the platform as of Thursday.
According to USA Today, Brooks was trying to quickly fly from his home base in Texas back to Brandon, Mississippi, because his then-pregnant wife, Haley, was having an emergency induction due to high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
WATCH: Watch Soldiers in Afghanistan Reveal The Gender of Fallen Comrade’s Baby
As Dover notes, while Brooks wasn’t able to make it in time, their flight delay was actually a good thing: If the plane was in the air by the time the call came in, Brooks likely wouldn’t have been able to see the birth happen live.
- Want to keep up with the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
“He would have been on the flight by the time it happened, so it really did all work out for him that he at least got to have some part of it,” she says.
Brooks is part of the 2nd Battalion, 114th Field Artillery Regiment of the U.S. Army, reports KTVU. Just four days after meeting his newborn daughter, who the couple named Millie, Brooks was on his way back to Texas.
Dover says she has been in contact with Brooks and Haley since her photo went viral and she even has plans to meet up with her once she has some time to settle after the birth.
“I told her, ‘Girl, when all this is done and you’ve recovered, let’s have lunch,’ ” Dover says. “I’m gonna bring that baby a ton of little hair bows and we’ll talk about it all!”