It’s a great feeling to safely land after a long plane ride, and to be reunited with your loved ones on the terminal after some time apart.
But for one mother, that moment wasn’t quite as heartwarming as she imagined, thanks to her family’s quite unexpected choice for a welcome sign.
Barbara Nielsen, from Muldrow, Oklahoma, recently had to travel to Michigan on business.
The out-of-state trip took her away from her husband Brandon and 4-year-old son Daimen for a week.
So when she was finally on her return flight to Fort Smith Regional Airport, she couldn’t wait to see them.
“I called my husband to let him know I would be a little late, but to make sure to have our son waiting at the airport for me,” Nielsen told Love What Matters.
But she soon regretted that last part.
“I got off the plane and headed down the aisle to see them. I spotted my husband first but wasn’t close enough to see my son yet. Once I got closer I could see my son holding something and then I read it …”
He had a sign that read “Welcome home from prison Mom.”
Needless to say, Nielsen has never been to prison. But maybe the onlookers at the terminal didn’t know that, so it made for a pretty hilarious prank.
“I saw lots of laughter, except for me who’s rolling my eyes,” Barbara told KFSM.
Of course, despite being the sign holder her son wasn’t the mastermind behind the plan—he can’t read yet, so he wasn’t even aware there was a prank.
Brandon made the sign as a last-minute prank, after getting the idea online.
“I just looked at my husband with a big grin and rolled my eyes at him,” Barbara told Love What Matters.
It was an unforgettable reunion for the family, and after the joke it was nothing but love: “My son then dropped the sign and gave me a big hug and kiss,” Barbara said. Who says it’s hard to return to life after prison?
And the prank has now gone viral online.
Barbara’s friend Jessica Williams asked if she could post the photo on her Facebook, where it has become a runaway hit with almost 150,000 shares to date.
“We’ve had people from all over contacting us and telling us how funny it is,” Barbara told KFSM.
No word on if anyone’s congratulating her for finally making parole.