When 7-year-old Caden Chin went to his school assembly, he had no idea the gathering was actually for him.
His dad, Sgt. Jason Chin, snuck in to surprise him at Pvt. Albert E. Thomson Elementary after returning from his deployment in Kuwait.
“The last time I saw him was the beginning of first grade. He just started second grade,” Chin, of North Andover, Massachusetts, told ABC News over his excitement to see his son. “It was amazing yesterday. Everybody in the whole family was so exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed that everyone was in bed before 8 p.m. last night. It was great.”
When he walked into the school’s gym as the “special guest,” Caden immediately ran toward his daddy for a big hug.
“It was more than I had hoped for,” said Chin. “We locked eyes and he came running and saying, ‘Daddy, daddy,’ and he yelled, ‘Woohoo,’ and whispered in my ear that he loved me. That was more than I even expected.”
The father-son duo then recited the Pledge of Allegiance together.
Chin told his family he would be returning home sometime this month, but not even his wife, Laura, knew the exact date.
“I surprised her at work before heading to the school,” he said.
As a member of the Army National Guard, Chin has no plans for deployment until the next rotation, which could take another four to five years.
Until then, he plans on spending some great quality time with his family.
“It feels excellent,” he said. “This morning I was still sleeping and the kids were opening the door and peeking in on me to make sure daddy was still there.”