HILTON, N.Y. - It was a tight squeeze, but a soldier returning home to his family surprised his 3-year-old daughter in a moment that will melt your heart.
After seven months of training with the National Guard, Spc. Paul Hayhurst stopped by the dance class where his little girl, Isabella, was attending. To surprise her, Hayhurst hid in a box place in the dance studio.
"That was a pretty small box," he said. "I thought I was going to fall out the back end of it."
For the big moment, two dancers pulled off a black sheet covering the top of the box revealing the proud father. Once little Isabella saw him, she ran towards him and yelled, "Daddy!" as the two embraced. During the hug, Isabella told him, "I love you daddy."
"The hardest part was being homesick," said Hayhurst. "[Seeing] pictures. Not really being able to talk to them."
Hayhurst's wife and Isabella's siblings, Travis, and 3-month-old Colin, were also there to witness the wonderful scene.
"Everyone is back together and now it's just getting back in the swing of things and being dad again," said Hayhurst.
He is not sure how much time he will have to spend with his family, but is thankful he will be home for the Thanksgiving holiday.