Right before Emma Brittingham was about to compete in her very first gymnastics competition on Sunday, the announcer asked her if she could have one wish, what would that wish be?
"That my dad could be here," the 9-year-old gymnast said.
Then the announcer told Emma to turn around, and there, miraculously, stood her father, U.S. Air Force Maj. Jake Brittingham, who had been stationed in Africa for the past five months.
The heartwarming homecoming at the Golden Bear Gym in Berkeley, Calif., was caught on camera by Oakland television station KTVU-TV. (A good thing, since the home video taken by Emma's mom Kelley Brittingham gets cut off as soon as she sees her husband.)
"We had NO idea Daddy came home early to surprise Emma at her first Level 7 meet!" Kelley Brittingham wrote on YouTube. "Thank goodness the news was there to capture the whole thing!"
The elaborate surprise took five weeks of planning and required the cooperation of gymnastic meet organizers, who allowed Brittingham to hide out in a back office while waiting for Emma's turn on the mat, according to KTVU.
"I'm just so touched that they went through this for us," Kelley Brittingham said to KTVU after the reunion. "I was shaking, I couldn't move my legs."
Earlier this month, video footage of an equally emotional reunion between Army Lt. Col. Will Adams and his 9-year-old daughter, Alayna Adams, at a Tampa Bay Ray's game went viral, touching hearts across the Internet.
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