The family of a deployed Navy dad got an early Christmas gift from Santa this holiday season.
After spending the past year overseas serving in the Navy, Rob Stella surprised his family while they were having their pictures taken with Santa at the mall.
It was unexpected and a big shock to the family when they found out that their dad was deployed. Stella has been in the Navy for 23 years and was able to sneak home only for a few short visits during the past year. On December 5, he returned home for good from his final deployment.
Prior to Stella’s return, his wife had spoken with the mall’s manager to help organize the surprise.
The plan entailed Stella hiding behind Santa’s chair. As the photographer counted “1, 2, 3,” he jumped up and photobombed the moment. His children had no idea their dad was in the photo until one son caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of his eye.
The family then ran into their dad’s arms and welcomed him home.
The surprise happened just one day before his daughter’s 10th birthday.