On Saturday, Democratic candidate and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared a heartwarming moment on stage at an event in Denver with a nine-year old supporter. 

The nine-year old boy, Zachary Ro, submitted a question via fishbowl that read, “Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.” 

He joined the former mayor on stage with his parents, presenting Buttigieg a bracelet. 

“I don’t think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me,” Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate for president, told Zachary. “It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of 1,000 people, thousands of people you’ve never met that’s, that’s really something.”

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He added “a couple things that might be useful” to Zachary. “The first thing is that it won’t always be easy, but that’s okay, because you know who you are. And that’s really important, because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.” He continued by telling Zachary to be mindful of “who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave.”

“When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could have seen that coming, and you’ll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There’s a lot of power in that,” Buttigieg added.

This heartwarming moment comes just a few days after conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh made homophobic comments targeted at the democratic hopeful, saying America’s, “still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

Buttigieg responded to Limbaugh’s comments on CNN’s State of the Union. “Well, I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband. On stage we usually just go for a hug. But I love him very much, and I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”