A soldier disguised himself as his daughter’s school mascot to surprise her in an emotional reunion after nearly a year apart.
It was a normal school day for Allison Paez at Idea Weslaco Public School in Weslaco, Texas, when their mascot, a colt, walked into the cafeteria where she was sitting with her fellow students.
After waving to the excited students, the mascot walked over to Allison, aged seven, and took off the horse’s head to reveal himself as her father, Rene Paez.
Rene, a sergeant with the U.S. Army, had been on deployment overseas at an undisclosed location for more than 11 months, which Allison’s mom, Priscilla, described as a tough time for the youngster.
Having received the news he was set to return home, Rene started to liaise with the school’s admin team, who suggested using the mascot costume for the big surprise.
As soon as Allison saw her father’s face she immediately welled up with happy tears before heading over for a long-awaited hug.
Priscilla said: “Allison had been missing him a lot, so I wanted to prepare something special she will remember forever.
“I cried – my heart melts every time I watch the video and see her expression.
“Everyone has shown their love and support and said they are thankful our family is together again.”