Christmas surprise: Military father surprises children by coming home to Tampa

U.S. & World

After spending six months in the Middle East, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force returned home to surprise his three children for Christmas.

And we learned Alfredo Laboy and his wife Maria have a habit of tricking their children at this time of the year.

When the family was living in Japan in 2007, Laboy returned home on Christmas Eve after being gone for one year. 

“My wife wrapped me up in a box and I was right under the tree,” he said. “So I stayed there until the kids woke up.” 

His three children never imagined their parents would accomplish another Christmas miracle. The reunion was filled with hugs, tears of joy and those three precious words: “I love you.”

The original plan put Laboy in Florida at the end of January – and Laboy pretended to follow that plan. 

“Earlier, I was texting my dad and he sent me a picture of him, like, at his office,” his daughter Mara-Jade said. “And I am, like, ‘He is at his office with, like, little candies around and everything.’ And then, all of a sudden, I am getting dragged over here and I am like, ‘Where are we going?’”

The 16-year-old thought she was dreaming when she saw her father at the Christmas Lane venue in Plant City. 

“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is actually happening!’” she told us.

The children were overwhelmed and overjoyed. 

“I see her like tackle him over there and I just like run in to join,” said 12-year-old Diego, Laboy’s youngest child. 

This family tells us they now have everything on their Christmas list. 

“This was the best Christmas present,” said 14-year-old Lorena. “Like, throw away the rest, donate the gifts, I don’t care. I am just so grateful.”

Their father will be home for ten days. He will return to the Middle East for another six months following this holiday homecoming. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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