Shakir Aquil had wanted to join the army since he was in high school. During those years, he used to dream of joining the military and especially of the day when he would surprise his family by coming home.
“I’ve always wanted to do it, even since high school when I was looking into going into the Army and always watched the coming-home videos,” Aquil told GMA. “I’ve been planning this for years.”
But his mother, L.J. Williamson, had no idea that her son had been planning a surprise for her for such a long time.
Williamson, a retired Atlanta Police Department officer, and at the time a school resource officer in Therrell High School, Atlanta, hadn’t seen her son in more than two years.
The last time Shakir had returned home was for his grandfather’s passing and, since then, he had been in South Korea serving the country as an army chef.
“I cried for probably about a month,” Williamson said of Aquil’s first deployment. “This baby that I had when I was a baby — I was just 18 when I had him — we kind of grew up together and I felt like a part of me was displaced with him being so far away.”
And eventually, the time had come for her son to surprise her by coming home earlier than expected.
At the time, Aquil had notified his family that he would be stopping by before he was moved to Seattle, but he had given them a later date.
At the same time, he had arranged things with the high school staff, and they decided the best time for the surprise would be during the pep rally, when Williamson would think she was being honored for community work.
As you can see in the video below, a father of three is thanking Williamson for supporting him when his family grew, and for always being there for him and his kids.
As a “special thank-you”, her son appears with a message on video, and this is enough for Williamson to shed a tear. Still, the big surprise was yet to come.