Because a military dad was returning from a tour of duty in the Middle East, he figured he’d make it a surprise for his two kids. But this military veteran didn’t want to do something small, though touching, in his backyard. He wanted his entrance to be grand and something the kids would never forget.
So, he made sure they showed up to a Utah Jazz basketball game. Then they were brought out into the middle of the court during the game. And the entire stadium grew quiet. Then the 20-year military veteran stepped out onto the court and the kids could not contain themselves…
US Army Major Sam Sanderson is no stranger to military deployment. During most of his military career, he has been out serving America.
But when he was returning from a six-month tour of the Middle East, he wanted this homecoming to be even more special than all the rest.
Because he had to leave behind his 15-year-old daughter Raegan and 11-year-old son Jordan, he planned to make it up to them in front of thousands of onlookers at the Utah Jazz basketball game.
Sanderson could not have done it all alone. He had called up the Utah Jazz and asked for their help in making this surprise come true. Because he is a communications officer for the 19th special forces group (Airborne), the Utah Jazz was happy to oblige his every wish.
So, when his wife and two kids came to the March 1 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they just thought it was another outing with their mom, without the dad.
Then things got weird. The kids were fitted with goggles and then walked out onto the center court. They thought it was a chance to win money if they found the team’s mascot while wearing the dark goggles.
But when the goggles were taken off, it wasn’t the mascot that they had bumped into – it was their dad home from his military service.
Watch the kids’ eyes go wide with shock. They didn’t expect to see their dad like this. It’s a dream come true for this American family.
When the surprise wears off, the kids yell and then throw themselves at their beloved father.
“They wouldn’t let go of me,” Sanderson told ABC News. “My daughter was especially emotional. She couldn’t stop shaking and was trying to not have a panic attack.”
The clip was shared on the Utah Jazz Facebook page.
More than 1.4 million people have watched this heartwarming clip. And hundreds have left comments including:
“God bless you for your service!! I am so grateful for you and all of the men and women who serve this great country so we can enjoy the freedoms that we have !! That’s so awesome the Utah Jazz doing amazing things like this! God bless the USA!” wrote Shaun Christenson.
Alma Suhwan Seo shared, “Welcome home sir! Thank you for everything you’ve done. Also, thumbs up to Jazz for doing this.”
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