After spending two and a half years away from his family in the U.S Air Force, Kyle Richert returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, to surprise his grandmother, Shirley Campbell.
Campbell was expecting to witness an engagement announcement for Richert’s cousin on Sunday, but instead, Richert himself walked through the doors of Longhorn Steakhouse, a local family favorite.
“Can I take your order?” he asked his grandmother, who immediately leapt out of her seat to embrace her grandson.
The family started planning the surprise two months ago, according to Richert.
“I wanted to surprise her without giving her a heart attack,” he said. “I lied to her and told her I wouldn’t be home until Christmas.”
Campbell hadn’t seen her grandson since he graduated boot camp in San Antonio, Texas. “He’s my only grandson and we’re very close,” she said. “I’ve been around Kyle since he was born…matter of fact I was right by the doctor, and he’s just got special place I my heart.”
Richert and his grandmother had only spoken over Skype approximately four times since he left home.
“It’s kind of hard to stay in contact because of her work schedule and the time difference,” said Richert. “It always brings her to tears when she sees me and hears my voice.”
Richert will have three weeks at home before he returns to Germany to continue his service.
He will be going on a cruise with his mother and step-father to Cozumel, Mexico, but when he returns, he looks forward to relaxing with his grandmother.
“We just sit around, listen to nature, watch T.V. She cooks for me…she makes these biscuits that I love to death,” he said.