LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island girl thought the news was filming at her school on Friday for a story on her physical education class, but instead she got the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat.
Just like her father, 10-year-old Alexus London is a leader. As she took charge in her gym class at William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst, she had no idea her dad, Army Staff Sgt. Daniel London, was waiting in a nearby room.
“I’m nervous. I can honestly say it’s the first time I’m nervous to see my own daughter,” London said.
London returned back from his third deployment in Afghanistan on Monday, staying with his fiancee in their Brooklyn home all week with the ultimate plan to surprise his daughter for Valentine’s Day.
“He just said he wanted a special day for her. He knew if we went in the middle of the week, she’d be like, I’m not going back to school,” said Jennifer Aragones, London’s fiancee.
He even had to disguise his whereabouts when they FaceTimed.
“Could not be outside ’cause the minute she sees that it was dark her time and dark my time, she’s like, there’s something wrong with this picture,” London said.
The whole plan was leading up to the moment Alexus saw her dad in her school gymnasium.
The two haven’t seen each other in person since last June at her school’s father/daughter dance.
“There’s not words to explain how much I missed him,” Alexus said.
London is also a member of the FDNY, even featured in the calendar one year, and Alexus’ mom, Rosemary London, is an NYPD officer. Both, though, were active members of the Army. At one point, they were deployed together.
“We left right after her 2nd birthday and we came back after she was already 3 and a half,” Rosemary London said.
The fifth grader learned at a young age that deployment is never easy, but the reunions that come after are always sweet — especially on Valentine’s Day.
“I still think this is a dream,” Alexus said.