After a three-year deployment in Japan, Marine Paul Riggs surprised his mom at work after two years of not seeing each other — and it is a truly beautiful moment.
Paula Riggs, a third grade teacher at Schrader Elementary School in New Port Richey, FL, was in the middle of story time when the principal asked her if she sang to her two children when they were younger. As Paula began to reminisce about the lullaby she used to sing, her handsome 24-year-old son walked through the classroom door.
“It was a moment I’ll remember forever and always,” Paula Riggs told ABC News.
Instantly bursting into tears, Paula jumps up to give Sgt. Riggs a much awaited hug. While keeping her son in her arms, she utters just two words through her sobs, “My hero.”
The sweet embrace not only fills your heart with joy, but makes you appreciate what we have in life right now. For those of you with young kids, it can be hard to even think of a time when your little ones won’t be living at home anymore. But to not be able to see or hold your child for two years, that is an unbelievable hardship to bear.
“I was nervous and excited,” Paul told TODAY of the surprise, jokingly explaining that he didn’t know what to do with his hands when he saw her. “But that went away when I walked in the room.”
The whole thing was organized by Paula’s daughter, Jennifer, 26, who knew her mom would appreciate a surprise reunion.
“I had told her months ago that I see all these wonderful surprise reunions with military people and I cry every time,” Paula recalled. “And I told her, ‘I could have one of those.’”
And we are so glad that she got one! Paula will get to spend four days with Paul before he leaves for Officer Candidate School at the end of the month. But even though we’re sure it’ll be hard to see him leave again, Paul will now be stationed in Virginia, which is at least a whole lot closer than Japan.
“He’ll be in the same time zone,” said Paula, relieved.
We’re honored to be a part of this intimate moment and wish Paula and her family all the best.More On