When Master Sergeant John Capsalis returned home on Aug. 6 from his two-month deployment to Kyrgyzstan, he had big plans to surprise his 5-year-old daughter, Juliana, at her school.
Little did he know that once he got there, she would be the one surprising him, nearly bringing her newly stateside father to tears.
“You lost a tooth!,” Capsalis, 46, of Salem, N.H., shouted in this heartwarming video posted on Welcome Home Blog.
This was the first tooth little Juliana had ever lost. It fell out while she was at school just three hours before Capsalis’ arrival, making him the first member of their family to see the fresh hole in her mouth.
“I missed a lot of things while I was gone,” Capsalis told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “My oldest son’s birthday, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July. But three hours prior to me getting there she had lost the tooth at school. Nobody knew about it other than me. I was the first one to see her without her tooth. That was awesome.”
No one in Capsalis’ family knew he was coming home, which was all part of the master surprise plan he had worked out with Juliana’s school in advance.
“I contacted the school via email while I was deployed and I asked them not to tell anybody I was coming home, including my family members. Not my wife, not my mom, nobody,” he explained. “They agreed not to say a word and asked me to contact them when I landed.”
Right when he touched down around 2 p.m., he called the school to let them know he’d be arriving shortly before 5 p.m.
“I was 15 minutes out and called them. They all went outside, and brought all the kids outside,” said Capsalis. “I don’t think anyone was more excited than I was. My heart was pounding and all the teachers were crying. But she [Juliana] had no idea.”
As soon as Juliana laid eyes on her father, she ran up to him, wrapping her arms around his neck giving him the biggest hug she could manage.
“My daughter and I have a bond like no other,” Capsalis said. “She’s hugging me and squeezing me and telling me she loves me.”
Fortunately, with no known redeployment plans in the near future, the adorable father-daughter duo has plenty of time to share many more “firsts” together. That included Juliana’s very first visit from the tooth fairy later that evening.