Monday, March 18, was a normal day for 9-year-old Luca — that is, until his military dad, SSG Rob Cesternino, surprised him with an early homecoming after 10 months of active duty with the National Guard. Luca expected his dad to be home the following week, but little did he know, so many people in Lebanon, TN, were conspiring to set up the huge surprise in a then-private Facebook group called "Operation Yellow Ribbon, Welcome Home Rob Cesternino." By the time Monday rolled around, everything was in place to welcome the dad home — there were messages on the marquees of local businesses and yellow ribbons all over town — and Rob's surprise for his son was also set.
At Luca's martial arts class, his instructor set the boy up with a blindfold for sparring, when Rob stepped in to box with him. Rob can be heard encouraging his son throughout the video, and each time he does, Luca hesitates, like he knows he's hearing his dad's voice but is convincing himself that this just can't be. It isn't until the third time Rob speaks that Luca stops completely, says "Daddy?" aloud, and goes to take off his blindfold. The way he launches himself into Rob's arms once he finally knows it's him left not a dry eye in the room. See the full video above, and prepare to start leaking saltwater.