Boy's Birthday Present is Soldier Dad

Filed under: In The News

Gabriel Hurles is surprised to find his dad inside his birthday present.Gabriel Hurles thought his mom's homemade cupcakes were going to be the high point of kindergarten party celebrating his sixth birthday. But that was before the Dayton, NV, boy noticed a huge 4-foot box with multicolored balloon wrapping paper in the classroom.

"That's one big giant present," one of his classmates said. "See what you got, Gabriel." So he tore off the wrapping paper and got a surprise he'll never forget. Inside the huge box was his dad, Army Spc. Casey Hurles, on leave from his duties as an army mechanic in Iraq.

Hurles hadn't seen his son since last June, so he was thrilled to learn that his leave would begin right around his son's birthday. And that led to Hurles' plan to hide out in Gabriel's class. So what was the boy's reaction to finding his dad inside his present? "It's my dad!" he told his friends, adding "Hi daddy."

Gabriel's teacher, Dawn VanSickle, had no problem with helping the surprise. "One of the first things (Gabriel) shared about himself was that his dad was in Iraq and that he was waiting for his dad to come home," she said. "He talks about his dad all the time." After Gabriel's dad finished his cupcake, the teacher presented him with a banner the students had made saying "Welcome Home. Thank you for your service."

I couldn't imagine being away from my kids for months at a time, let alone being a kid and having my dad gone for that long. Gabriel seems to understand, though. "He has to work," Gabriel said. "He works in the war." It seems to me that if anyone deserves to have his dad come home, Gabriel Hurles does.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.