Back in 2012, two little girls from Chicago were having a lot of fun with the dolphins at the city’s Brookfield Zoo but had no idea something much better was coming their way.
Jorja and Nataja, 11 and 6 respectively at the time, were invited down from the stands by the announcer to assist with the dolphin act. The show’s narrator announced their father had been serving as a soldier in Afghanistan for the previous eight months, so the staff wanted to make the family’s experience extra special.
After the children fed and patted the mammals, the dolphins’ trainer directed their attention towards the other side of the pool. It was then that the crowd started realizing there was a much bigger surprise in store for the girls.
As sergeant Keith Howse walked out from a side enclosure, the two surprised and teary-eyed girls ran to greet and embrace him. The girls knew their father was coming home in several days time but had no idea he was already in town.
Source: Chicago Tribune
“I was so excited to see him,” said Jorja who is Keith’s stepdaughter, while Nataja added, “My mom told me he was coming on Thursday. I never expected him to be here.”
Howse’s wife, Aja Moores who is from the area said she contacted the zoo to set up the surprise. “I used to come to the zoo a lot when I was a kid,” Aja said. “I thought this would be a perfect place.”
Check out the incredibly emotional event in the video below.