Chris Crafton of the U.S. Air Force was supposed to be stationed in Cuba, not at his daughter Taylor's high school graduation in Grand Forks, N.D.
Oh, how he had his family fooled this week.
Chris' family was prepared for his absence from Taylor's big day, to the point where they even made a cardboard cutout of him to sit in the crowd in spirit.
Not only did Crafton manage to end his deployment in time for her graduation, though, he declined to tell anyone in his family, not even his wife.
Which made this all the more amazing:
An announcement from the ceremony's MC was the only thing signaling Chris' arrival, just before he jogged onstage and embraced Taylor, saying:
"I told you, don't give up on your dad."
She never did, despite the demands of his job. He's spent 1,782 days deployed, by his count, saying "This is my last deployment so I had to make it happen."
"I've missed a lot ... you know, birthdays, Christmas, that kind of thing," Crafton said. "So I just tried my best to get here for when she graduated."
Says his wife and Taylor's mom Paige:
"These are just things that you see on YouTube or on TV, it's nothing that really happens to people that you know, so it's just the best feeling in the world."