When 7-year-old Brady Stainbrook's birthday came and went on July 21, he was disappointed when he didn't get the one and only thing he truly wanted for his big day: His dad to come home from deployment.
"All my friends kept asking, ‘Hey buddy, what do you want for your birthday?' And believe it or not, he just kept saying, ‘All I want is for my daddy to come home,'" Brady's mother, Rhianna Stainbrook, of Rapid City, S.D., toldGoodMorningAmerica.com.
What little Brady didn't know at the time was that his dad, Matt Stainbrook, 28, a staff sergeant with the Air Force, would be returning home, albeit five days later.
"I said, ‘You know what guys? Daddy isn't going to be able to be home for another month,'" Rhianna told Brady and his younger sister, Eva, 3. "I felt so bad, but the payoff was good."
On July 26, Stainbrook went to pick up her husband at 3 a.m. from Ellsworth Air Force Base where he was stationed as the kids stayed over at a friend's house for the night. The children had no idea their daddy was home, and as they played in the basement later that day, Stainbrook quickly wrapped Matt up in a big box and hid him in their front yard.
She went downstairs to grab the kids, took them outside to show them the surprise box that had arrived on the lawn, and told Brady it was a belated birthday present. As he carefully picked up the box, the little boy was so taken aback he didn't even have time to process what was happening.
"He was so shocked," said Stainbrook . "The video doesn't do it justice. His face is just frozen, and he just starts saying, ‘Daddy, Daddy!'"
Stainbrook shared the video on Welcome Home Blog, explaining this was Matt's ninth deployment in the past 10 years he has served.