Teen Almost Misses Graduation Due to Traffic, Then Walks Across Highway to Make It on Time

The teen's mother shared a video capturing the dramatic sequence of events that ended with her daughter happily joining her classmates at her graduation

<p>Araceli Ureno/Instagram</p> A teen and her father walked across a California freeway to make it to her graduation on time after hitting a traffic jam

Araceli Ureno/Instagram

A teen and her father walked across a California freeway to make it to her graduation on time after hitting a traffic jam

A California teenager wasn't going to let anything stop her from attending her high school graduation — not even gridlocked traffic.

The teen's mother, Araceli Ureño, shared a video on Instagram last week capturing the dramatic sequence of events that began with the family facing the disappointing reality that the graduate was likely going to miss her ceremony.

Ureño's video begins with footage of the family — who were en route to the graduation on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim — in their car, at a complete standstill in a line of backed-up traffic amid what Ureño described in her caption as a police "standoff."

"POV: Heading to my daughter's graduation," she wrote in text over footage of the stopped traffic and a fleet of police vehicles, armored trucks and officers, some with weapons drawn, on the freeway.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, police were actively searching for a man who had violated a domestic violence restraining order and the pursuit halted traffic on the 91 Freeway for six hours on May 24.

"Looks like we're not going to make it 😩," Ureño added in a second text caption over her video.

"Well, looks like my baby is missing her graduation," she can then be heard saying out loud as the camera pans to her daughter, wearing a blue-and-white floral dress, her graduation cap and a Class of 2024 sash decorated with badges and medals.

<p>Araceli Ureno/Instagram</p> The teen gets emotional as fellow motorists honk and cheer for her

Araceli Ureno/Instagram

The teen gets emotional as fellow motorists honk and cheer for her

Next, the clip cuts to footage of the teen crying and wiping away tears as other motorists on the highway begin enthusiastically honking and calling out "Congratulations!" in honor of her graduation achievement.

"Thank you for showing support 😭," Ureño wrote over the clip.

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Then came the incredible moment that proved just how determined the teen was to join her fellow classmates at their graduation. "But her dad said 'not today,' " Ureño wrote over footage of her daughter and her dad dashing across the highway together.

"Running down the 91 fwy to get to her graduation," Ureño added, before sharing a clip of the teen in her cap and gown rushing toward the graduation venue with minutes to spare.

Related: 17-Year-Old Student Earns a College Degree Before Graduating from High School

"Her ceremony was almost over," Ureño explained. "Her counselor had security escort her to make sure she walked."

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The video ends with the teen proudly displaying her diploma, before joining her fellow graduates by symbolically moving her cap tassel from the right to left side and cheering with excitement.

"She made it! 🙏," her mother wrote in a text caption.

<p>Araceli Ureno/Instagram</p> The graduate proudly shows off her diploma

Araceli Ureno/Instagram

The graduate proudly shows off her diploma

In a follow-up Instagram post, Ureño revealed that her daughter had been interviewed by Ryan Seacrest for his radio show and shared a clip from the conversation.

"It was like watching a movie — how's it going to end?" Seacrest said in the clip of the dramatic freeway incident.

"I had already come to terms with the fact that I might miss [the graduation], but I didn't think the standoff was going to go on for so long," the new graduate recalled, before explaining that she had gotten out of the family's car at her mother's suggestion to "shake off her nerves" and stretch her legs.

When people saw her wearing the cap and gown, "they just started honking and celebrating for me," she recounted, noting it "felt so amazing that I started to cry."

"It really showed that humanity is not lost 'cause nobody knew me there and they still came together and celebrated me," she added.

She also told Seacrest that she and her father ended up walking to the closest freeway exit, where her uncle was waiting to pick them up and drive them to the graduation location.

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