For many families, Christmas is a time to reunite, to get together and celebrate. But for many families with loved ones deployed for military service, the holidays can be hard, knowing they won’t be with you.
It was especially hard for a woman named Donna Schreffler, who was coming to terms with the fact that she wouldn’t see her grandson again for over a year.
As a member of the Air Force stationed in New Mexico, her grandson was soon going to be deployed for a year-long tour in South Korea.
Knowing she wouldn’t see him again until January 2019, Schreffler wanted more than anything to see her grandson one more time. But she was in Pennsylvania, thousands of miles away, and was unable to fly.
Schreffler is a 20-year veteran of Trion Industries, a manufacturing company in Pennsylvania. But recently when she went into work, she thought her luck was getting even worse.
She was called into her boss’s office—and feared for the worst.
Her suspicions seemed confirmed when she saw her daughter in the office waiting for her.
“When I walked in, my daughter was there and I thought something happened,” she told Inside Edition.
“What are you doing here?” Schreffler asks her daughter.
“I kind of did something…” she replies.
Then, Schreffler closed the door—and saw someone hiding.
It was her grandson, all the way from New Mexico, there to surprise her!
Schreffler was blown away by the surprise.
“When I turned, there he was,” she recalled. “It took me half the day just to regain my composure. I was overwhelmed.”
The surprise was orchestrated by her daughter and her boss, John Thalenfeld. When the company heard that Schreffler wouldn’t get to see her grandson for a year, they paid for a plane ticket out to Pennsylvania for a surprise reunion—a beautiful surprise Christmas gift for their longtime employee.
Needless to say, it was very different than what she was expecting.
“I thought I was losing my job!”
The surprise was a huge success—and it made her boss happy to have made such a special moment happen, just in time for the holidays.
“It’s nice to be nice to people,” Thalenfeld told Inside Edition. “I still cry when I see the video. I’ve probably watched it 100 times.”