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Stepping Up: When This Man’s Brother Died, He Took It Upon Himself To Discourage His Niece’s Art Career

Grab a box of tissues, because this story is about to make you feel some big-time feels.

Two years ago, John Fitzpatrick got the most devastating phone call of his life when he learned that his brother Robert had died of a heart attack in his sleep. John instantly thought of Robert’s 18-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was just starting to forge her path in life. That’s when this amazing uncle decided to step up in a seriously inspiring way: With Robert no longer there for her, John took it upon himself to discourage his niece’s art career.

Okay, is someone cutting onions in here? Because we’re getting just a little bit teary.

Ever since his brother’s passing, John has made it a point to call his niece every single Sunday evening to remind Sophie just how much her father loved her, how proud he’d be if he could see her now, and how unstable a career in the arts can be compared to more traditional nine-to-five employment. Sophie’s true passion in life has always been drawing and painting, but thanks to her selfless uncle’s constant reminders that almost nobody actually ends up working their dream job, she’s now just two years away from getting her BA in marketing!

“I want Sophie to know that she can always depend on me,” John explained, gazing tearfully at an old photograph of Robert holding his baby girl. “But she cannot depend on freelance income, especially in a field as oversaturated and undervalued as the arts. She’s way too smart for that.”

John has never faltered in his commitment to making sure his niece understands just how unrealistic it is to earn a living as an artist. Last summer, when Sophie landed an internship at a Brooklyn art gallery, John spent countless hours reminding her that New York is expensive, dangerous, and very far away from Ohio, before ultimately finding her a job doing administrative work for his friend instead. And when Sophie briefly considered getting a double major in studio art, her uncle pulled out all the stops, even going so far as to gain control of her late father’s finances so that he could temporarily withhold the semester’s tuition check until she changed her mind!

Incredible! Is there an Uncle of the Year award? Because this guy definitely just won it.

While nobody can ever take the place of Sophie’s father, it is seriously heartwarming to see John step up to the plate like this. Sophie is so lucky to have an uncle she can always turn to for love, guidance, and stacks of brochures for MBA programs handed to her at every family holiday. Here’s to you, John!