After the rough year Audra Daniloff had endured – spending more than 60 days in the hospital recovering from a rare disease that struck her in February 2013 – her dad thought she deserved a pick-me-up. Little did Marc Daniloff know, though, that the treat he decided to give his daughter would bring smiles to millions.
Marc, a business coach, enlisted police in their hometown of Saukville, Wisc., to pull over the 17-year-old as she drove to school and give her two tickets – a concert ticket to see her favorite band and an airline ticket to fly to NYC, where the group was playing the final concert of its tour. “Any father of a teen daughter will tell you, there’s a small window to amaze her, and I took advantage of it,” the father tells Yahoo Parenting. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to see the look on her face when she got the surprise, though.”
But thanks to a body camera worn by the officer who doled out the tickets, the high school senior’s priceless reaction was caught on video, which the proud papa posted on YouTube Dec. 23. And in just a week, the footage has already scored nearly 3 million views, 6,000 likes and hundreds of positive comments from people expressing appreciation to the dad and the cop for brightening their day.
"I got some good news, and I got some bad news for you, OK?" police officer Brendin Depies announces to the teen on the video, filmed Nov. 21. "The bad news, first, is I am giving you two tickets, all right? The good news is, they’re probably not the tickets you expect me to give you, OK? One is a ticket to New York — an airplane ticket — and the other ticket is to [see] a band called Timeflies. I talked to your dad, and that’s from your dad.”
The Daniloffs celebrated in Times Square post-concert, Nov. 22. (Photo: Courtesy of Marc Daniloff)
Audra — who spent 58 straight days in early 2013 at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin after being diagnosed with an immune disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and has been in and out of the hospital ever since — was speechless for a moment, then very thankful. “You’re my favorite cop in the entire world!” she told Depies. And for the rest of that day, she admitted later to Today.com, “I was freaking out.”
That’s just the reaction her dad had hoped for when he hatched his plan back in July. “I wanted to give her the surprise of a lifetime,” he says of treating her to the Timeflies gig in Times Square and a backstage meet-and-greet with the band.
Mission accomplished, in more ways than one. “This is the first time she’s ever been pulled over,” Daniloff says. His backup plan? “I was going to have the principal call her down to the office and make it sound really bad.”
Extreme measures were warranted, Daniloff says, because the health scare that forced the teen to battle for her life was so extreme. “She had a point where her chance of living was just 20 percent,” he reveals.
Audra visited the Empire State Building during her trip to New York City. “It was magical,” says her dad. (Photo: Courtesy of Marc Daniloff)
"You know that saying that shared sorrow is halved and shared joy is doubled?" he asks. "Well, this experience has been critical-mass joy. It was intended to be a great little story, but sharing it has moved it to a realm I never expected. It’s something really cool for Audra, and for me, to be able to bring joy to so many people."
Audra in New York City, Nov. 22 (Photo: Courtesy of Marc Daniloff)
The Daniloffs’ New York boat ride souvenir photo (Photo: Courtesy of Marc Daniloff)
The duo in Milwaukee on Oct. 28 (Photo: Courtesy of Marc Daniloff)