Zakery Ramos, ,8, and his 5-year-old brother, Noah, wore matching shirts to school on Friday that said, “All I want for Christmas is my Daddy.”
And their Christmas wish was granted as U.S. Army Reserve Specialist Onorio Ramos surprised his two sons at their schools on Friday.
The moment his boys heard Onorio’s name and caught a glimpse of their father, they ran up and embraced him with tears in their eyes.
Ramos was deployed to Egypt last year just before Christmas on a peace keeping mission, which was tough on his family, wife Krystal said.
“He missed Christmas last year and it was rough,” she said. “The kids took it pretty hard.”
Which prompted Krystal and Onorio to surprise their children on the last day of school before winter break.
Krystal coordinated with the district and her two oldest sons’ teachers to create the perfect surprise, while still keeping the secret.
“It was very hard,” she said. “They kept asking when daddy was coming home and yesterday, I said, ‘I don’t think daddy is making it for Christmas this year after all. We think he’s going to have to stay longer.’”
The boys were pretty sad about it, especially their eldest son 8-year-old Zakery.
Just a few days prior, Zakery talked to his second-grade teacher Angela Laster, at Jefferson Elementary School, about missing his father.
“He came in and he said, ‘Mrs. Laster, I’m sad,’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘for what?’ And he said, ‘Because I want my daddy home for Christmas?’ I already knew and it was so hard, and I just told him, ‘it’s going to be OK.’”
At Jefferson Elementary, music teacher Keith Robinson had his class outside facing away from the school. As they wrapped up their lesson, Laster distracted the students until Principal Aaron Hannah introduced Onorio to the class. When Zakery heard his father’s name, he turned around, jogged toward his dad, and gave him the biggest hug as tears slid down his face.
“I started crying,” Zakery said. “Now, I’m happy.”
At Ball Early Childhood Center, Noah was in class when Principal Debra Reiley introduced his surprise. The young boy jumped up and rushed to his father.
“I didn’t know how he was going to react because he was attached to me before,” Onorio said. “He’s grown a lot.”
The couple has a 2-year-old at home and they weren’t sure how he would react. However, they’re just happy to be together again, Krystal said.
“We’re fortunate that he was able to come home,” she said. “It’s hard to know that there are parents who just got deployed when they left, so there are kids out there who are not going to get their parents for Christmas. We’re super glad that he is home and we get to spend it with him. We’re glad we get him this Christmas.”
The thing Onorio said he is looking forward to most this holiday season is spending time with his family.
“I’m looking forward to hanging out with these two and my little one,” he said.
The couple thanked the district and their sons’ teachers for helping coordinate the emotional surprise.