The last thing Gwen Jackson was expecting for the holidays was having her son, Grant Jackson, an airman who has been deployed to Japan for two years, home for Christmas.
Interested in Christmas?Add Christmas as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Christmas news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
But that’s exactly what she got, and her reaction is absolutely priceless.
“I lost it bad,” Gwen Jackson of Memphis, Tennessee, told ABC News. “I turned around to see what my sister was saying and then I saw his face on her body and it was all blurry, then everything started coming together and I just lost it. I was just a ball of emotion.”
Gwen Jackson, 56, has a heart defibrillator so the family was worried about surprising her, but after they got a healthy report from the doctor, they knew they were in the clear for the big reveal.
“I was not expecting that reaction at all,” Air Force Airman 1st Class Grant Jackson, 21, said of his unsuspecting mom’s overwhelmed response. “I’m just glad she was in good health at the time. Everything was planned out pretty perfectly, except for my luggage not arriving on time so I couldn’t have my uniform on.”
He said he was shocked that his mom ran away from him after she laid eyes on him.
“It’s like she saw a ghost,” Grant Jackson said with a laugh.
The airman’s sister, Brittany Pettis, was recording their mom’s reaction, which has gone viral with more than 3 million views on Facebook.
“My mom means the world to us,” Pettis said. “She does all that she can. She goes above and beyond to make sure we’re always good. I love my mom to death and my brother does, too.”
Gwen Jackson said she had been “getting a little down” recently because “the holidays are always hard” without her son home, but she no longer has to worry about that.
“This has been a Christmas to remember forever,” she said. ”If everybody felt like this, this world would be a better place. I wish this for everybody. I love my kids so much. It was just a wonderful moment.
“He’s my baby boy. This is mama’s baby. I love him.”