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Man and woman with two young boys and a dad standing behind a high school graduate.

Dad Flies 17 Hours to Surprise Son At High School Graduation

YouTube/ ABC News
Uplifting News

Teen Is Asked a Question at His Graduation - Turns Around to an Epic Surprise

A Navy dad wasn’t missing this important day, no matter what.

Graduation is a big deal. It’s the moment when a young person is recognized for their dedication and hard work and a time to celebrate the beginning of an adult life. It’s a big deal for kids to have their support system cheering them on at graduation, which is why this story of a father flying across the world to see his son at grad is so heartwarming.


A Father Oversees

A man hugs his son at graduation

David Castillo flew 17 hours to make his son's graduation

YouTube/ABC News


David Castillo is in the U.S. Navy and recently had four straight deployments. That meant he couldn’t see his family much, especially since his most recent, four-month deployment on the South China Sea.

That didn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about his family, especially his son Randy. Randy’s high school graduation was coming up in San Antonio, Texas, and Castillo was heartbroken he wouldn’t be there.

Then, Castillo got word that he could get home in time and decided to keep it a secret. Instead of revealing to his children that he was flying home, he boarded a plane and flew 17 hours across the world. He landed just in time.

A Giant Surprise

First, Castillo stopped at the house and surprised his younger son. In a video shared to ABC News, the younger kid can be seen crying and hugging his father in surprise. Then, the family headed to the high school.

“I’m here to surprise my son; I’m just glad to be here for his first steps in life,” Castillo told the camera.

At the school, staff members were in on the surprise. They recorded Randy and asked him about his father.

“Sadly, he’s not here; he’s in the Navy and overseas right now,” Randy told the interviewer.

The person behind the camera asked Randy to turn around to where his dad was waiting. Randy covered his mouth in surprise in a tear-jerking moment, then hugged his dad tight as the crowd cheered. Not only did his dad make his graduation, but he pulled off the most epic surprise.

Remembering What Matters

One of the reasons this story hits you right in the feels is that it reminds us all of what’s important in life: the people we love. Yes, many of us have to work hard to earn a living, and we can’t always be there for the moments we want to be. But doing our best to show up for the people we love is essential.

Showing up reminds us that we have a support system and love in our lives, and it’s what we hope others do for us when we need it most.

So make time for loved ones, even when life gets busy. Put a get-together on the calendar. Make the phone call to catch up. Or send a note telling someone you’re thinking of them. You’ll never regret that you did.

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