Airman Surprises Son During Gym Class After Yearlong Deployment

The 6-year-old asked his mom when his dad would be home that very morning.

ByABC News
December 11, 2015, 6:44 PM

— -- A member of the Air Force left his young son speechless and a gymnasium full of teachers crying with a holiday surprise on Wednesday in Texas.

Senior Airman Armando Del Valle was camouflaged in a turkey costume and danced with his son Christian's physical education teachers before they asked the 6-year-old if he knew who was hiding in the outfit.

Video from ABC News-owned station KTRK shows the first grader in a state of shock after the turkey turned out to be his father, who came home the night before. The 27-year-old dad told ABC News Christian's priceless reaction made him shed tears of joy.

"I was just telling him that I missed him," Del Valle said. "It was kind of hard to say anything else. I asked if he knew it was me because the kids were confused that it wasn't their principal."

Del Valle said his wife Laura worked with Christian's two physical education teachers and counselor at Ed White E-STEM Magnet School in El Lago to pull off the surprise. Laura told ABC News Christian asked her a question she heard all too often on the day of the big reveal.

"That morning he actually asked me when [his dad] was coming home," she said. "I kept changing it, 'Maybe [next] Tuesday or Friday. I felt really bad, but I knew it would pay off in the end."

Christian's teachers, Wendy Clough and April Fortenberry, said including Del Valle in their 7th annual "12 Days of Gym Class" dance was one of the "best days" of their teaching careers.

"What an honor to be part of such an intimate family moment," Clough said.

"We had to explain [to the class] and then they were all excited for [Christian]," Fortenberry said. "Everybody clapped."

Christian's mother said her husband and son have been "inseparable" since he returned. Del Valle said he "should be home for good" and is looking forward to "spending as much time" as possible with Christian and his 3-year-old brother Isaiah.