Kennesaw, Ga. -- Five-year-old Xavier hadn't seen his father in person for a year, so his mom Elizabeth Sydnor thought she could pull off a surprise at the homecoming football game for the Blackwell Bears in Kennesaw Saturday.
"He's already amped up and excited [for the game,] so to see his dad for the first time in a year--that would really put him over the top," Sydnor said. "I wanted him to have an experience of a welcome home."
Staff Sergeant Kelvin Sanders had just gotten back from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. He'd done previous tours there and in Iraq. When he drove into town Saturday morning, he was put into an equipment shed before his name was called to walk out onto the field at Noonday Park. When he did, his son came running.
"It turned out pretty well, it was really emotional," Sanders said. "It's really tough being away from the kids, I just have to use Skype and keep them motivated and keep me motivated."
Xavier danced during music breaks, and couldn't stop himself from coming over to his parents on the sideline several times during the game. Those who were there to watch said it was a pleasant surprise for them as well.
"Seeing that boy run to his dad, there are no words," said Gina O'Leary. "I've never experienced anything like this in person, it's very life-changing."