A sister flipped the traditional military surprise reunion on its head by driving cross-country in a van and shocking her Marine brother, who she had not seen in more than a year.
While most military reunions see servicemen and servicewomen surprise their loved ones, Lexi DeLeon, from Anna Maria, Florida, decided that she wanted to be the one to surprise her brother, David.
Self-described nomad Lexi runs a popular “van life” TikTok page, which sees her travel across the United States in her van and documenting her journey.
As Lexi was headed to Mexico, she thought this would be the perfect opportunity to visit David, who is based at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in San Clemente, California.
Having arrived at the gates on January 11, Lexi was picked up by a friend, who took her to David’s barracks.
There, Lexi set up a camera and knocked on David’s door.
As he opened the door and noticed a familiar face looking back at him, David froze in shock, his jaw dropping.
The 19-year-old lance corporal then headed in for a long-await hug.
That weekend, the siblings then took a camping trip to Joshua Tree, where they explored the national park.
Lexi, who shared a post about the surprise on TikTok, said: “I felt so excited and nervous the whole time leading up to it.
“Once I saw him and hugged him, I immediately felt relieved, and it was like I had my best friend back.
“Everyone has loved it – our family and friends, but also those on the internet.
“I posted the video on TikTok and Instagram and everyone is commenting positive feedback and thanking David for his service.
“I hope that others hug their loved ones tightly if they have them around because I haven’t been able to do that for a year and I feel so blessed I got to do that.”