TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Four-year-old John Michael Savarese walked up on stage in front of his classmates at T.H. Johnson Elementary on the last day of school Thursday.
The principal gave him a basket of toys and goodies that he could use when his mom returned from deployment in South Korea.
“When do you think Mommy’s gonna come back?” she asked.
“Oh wait a minute — who’s that over there? Who’s that?”
“My mom!” John yelled, sprinting across the stage and into the arms of Air Force Staff Sgt. Mariana Chapman, who hugged him and covered him in kisses. The students, staff, teachers and families all clapped and cheered.
“I saw my mom and I hug her very fast on the stage to run,” John said afterward.
Chapman got her order to head to South Korea just before Christmas, and was able to coordinate a last-minute trip to surprise John for his last day of Pre-K. She also arrived just in time for his birthday next week.
She says she misses his hugs and spending time with her family and friends when she’s away.
“It’s all worth it in the end because without people being out there for us, we wouldn’t be able to share moments like this,” Chapman said.