Created: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 04:10:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 03 Sep 2013 11:27:37 EST
United States Army Specialist Joseph Wiggins is back home after a nine month long deployment in Afghanistan. His daughter was totally unaware he was in Houston County, until dad showed up "unannounced" at school Friday morning.
11-year-old Abby Wiggins hasn't seen her dad since late last year, but today at Thomson Middle School in Centerville the two were reunited.
"It was a relief. It was amazing just like every other time," said Wiggins after hugging his daughter in a classroom at Thomson Middle School.
After seeing her dad, Abby was almost speechless. "Very very happy," was all she could get out when asked how she was feeling.
Thomson’s principal Walter Stephens was admittedly "in" on the plan. "I think for her, it's just an opportunity to spend time with her dad that she hadn't seen in over nine months," said Stephens. "She's eleven and she's probably been deployed 9 years of her life."
Abby knew her father was scheduled to come home, but had no idea he'd turn up in her classroom Friday morning.
"She didn't know about today, so hopefully she is surprised," said Wiggins.
Obviously, she was, the room was filled with emotion, tears shed for a father that's been away too long and too often.
Abby and her father speak on Skype when it's working, but for today, it's not necessary for the everyday things many of us take for granted like going out for lunch.