Students at Mort Elementary School in Tampa were treated with an emotional homecoming as they headed into the holidays. Students like Genesis Cruz who was asked to help the principal during the weekly pep rally. What she didn’t know was that her uncle, Sgt. Ricardo Cruz, had come home after spending 8 months deployed in Afghanistan -- four months earlier than expected.
“Family is number one in my life, and I wanted to surprise her. She’s like my daughter so it’s a great time,” said Ricardo.
Assistant Principal LaTiecea Brown couldn’t have been happier to help orchestrate the surprise, “Our model here is to teach kids about service and this is a wonderful example of service. I know that he means so much to Genesis, but he means so much to the staff and the community...you know, the people that he services every day.”
Genesis was called in front of the school to help unwrap the large present that was wheeled out onto the stage. As she tore the paper away it revealed her uncle inside. The school cheered and tears flowed as the two embraced in front of everyone.
"I wish that he could stay forever," said Genesis
Watch the video to see Genesis unwrapping her very special Christmas present.