EL PASO, Texas - Tatiana Thibodeaux and her little brother Travis Thibodeaux Jr. went to school thinking it was just going to be like any other Monday.
Tatiana, 14, and Travis, 4, had gone six months without seeing their father, Senior Petroleum Officer Travis Thibodeaux Sr.
Thibodeaux Sr. was stationed at Fort Bliss in 2015. Since then he has done two tours in Afghanistan.
A couple of days before heading back to El Paso, members of the Immanuel Christian School administration reached out to him to see if he would be interested in surprising his children. It was an easy yes for Thibodeaux Sr.
ABC-7 caught up with him moments before he surprised his children.
"It feels wonderful, it feels like Christmas. I've been deployed for the past six months with the First Armored Division Standard Brigade, I was a senior petroleum officer for that unit," Thibodeaux Sr. said. "It's been challenging, It's been fast-paced, but I made it home safely with my family."
He told them his return was going to be delayed.
"They don't know I made it back this soon. They still think I'm traveling, on my way home," Thibodeaux said. "Today hopefully will be a nice surprise for them."
Thibodeaux Sr. hid in a large box that was wrapped as a present. The present had a card attached to it that read: "Special Delivery for ICS. Please Do Not Open until 3 p.m."
When 3 p.m. arrived, a large crowd of students had gathered around the present. Tatiana was called up to open it. Moments later, she was reunited with her father. Tears streamed down her eyes.
Travis Jr. realized who it was and ran over to embrace his dad.
"To be honest I was pretty shook," Tatiana said. "It feels like my life's complete now. When he wasn't here, it was kind of like 'what am I missing out on?'. My life's complete now and I have my dad back. My family is big and happy again."
Travis Jr. didn't say much. He was all smiles as his dad held him. He said it felt good, and he gave a thumbs up.
"I just want to thank Immanuel Christian for providing this opportunity for my family, especially my kids," Thibodeaux Sr. said. "This moment has always been on my mind."