Thrilling Soldier Surprise

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 11:59am

Airman returning from Afghanistan surprises ecstatic 4-year-old daughter.

An airman from Travis Air Force Base surprised his family with an early return home by showing up at a holiday dance recital featuring his daughter.

“It actually means so much to me, because I have missed so many holidays away from my family,” said Sgt. Brett Randall as he hid from his family outside the Civic Center Theatre in Fairfield, California Tuesday.

Randall, an EMT that was part of an extended-care ward that treated injured soldiers, was deployed in Afghanistan for more than six months.

Family friends from Randall’s church helped arrange the surprise and pick him up from the airport.

Meanwhile, Randall’s wife, Jennifer, was sitting in the audience Tuesday night, waiting for their 4-year-old daughter Stephanie to perform in the recital.

Randall hid in the audio booth and watched his daughter.

Just after the recital ended, he walked up on stage with a teddy bear and flowers in hand.

“Daddy!” Stephanie yelled as she ran toward her father.

As they hugged, Jennifer jumped on stage and into Randall’s arms, crying.

“I’m shaking,” Jennifer said through her tears.

The reunion received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Sorry for interrupting,” Randall said onstage.

The applause got louder. Outside the theater, the family was all smiles.

“It’s definitely great to have him home for Christmas,” said Jennifer, still in shock.

“I love you,” Stephanie told her dad as he held her in his arms.

They all agreed, this Christmas surprise is one they will never forget.

“When Stephanie saw me, you could see the look on her face, and it just lit me up inside,” Randall said. “It felt like magic."
 

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