DENTON, N.C. (CBS Local) — A North Carolina high school football player who paused to honor the national anthem is receiving worldwide praise for something he felt was simply “the right thing to do.”

Jacob Pope, a junior at Davidson High School in Denton, was walking to football practice when he heard the national anthem playing in the distance at a girl’s softball game.

Pope stopped in a parking lot, placed one hand over his heart and stood at attention to honor the moment — not knowing a teacher with a camera was watching.

“No one was there,” Pope told WGHP. “I just stopped because it was the right thing to do.”

The teacher snapped an image of the moment and asked Pope’s mother for permission to post it on Facebook.

“She wanted to point out what a proud moment it was and how special he was for doing something like that when no one was looking,” said Pope’s mother, Lauren Pope.

Jacob Pope said he’s “really shocked” by the overwhelming response and positive comments.

“They said ‘God bless this boy.’ ‘I know he’s been raised right.’ ‘Amen.’ ‘Awesome kid,'” he said.

“It makes me tear up quite often just reading some of the positive things people have stated about his character,” said Lauren Pope.

“Character is what you do when no one is looking,” she said. “He defines that.”