LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A soldier returned home to Lake Charles today, after spending nearly a year in Kuwait.
But his homecoming wasn't any ordinary one, he had it all planned out.
Sergeant Herbert Thibodeaux is a U.S. Army Soldier, and today, he surprised not one, but two people - his mom Ethel and son Christian.
He started at J.J. Johnson Elementary where his mom teaches. She thought KPLC was there doing a story on Pre-K, but she knew something was up when there was a knock on the door.
"I screamed because I was so excited to see my son. I mean he's been gone since April of last year. And to see him, to come back home, in one piece, because there's so many things that happened, it's truly a blessing," said Ethel.
Thibodeaux spent the last 10 months in Kuwait. While his family knew he was returning home soon, his mother didn't know that day was today.
She says when the Principal told her to go to her classroom, she thought there was a lockdown.
Of course it took a little conspiring with his brothers and sisters to ensure it was a surprise.
"I had landed in Fort Dixon, in New Jersey on February 3. And I told my younger sister when I was coming in," said Thibodeaux.
And the surprise paid off, but it didn't end there. Thibodeaux then went to Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy to surprise his son Christian.
Christian says his first reaction to seeing his dad was surprise.
And dad's reaction?
"It was a joy. I didn't expect it to be what it was, but I'm glad it was," said Thibodeaux.
His son Christian thought his dad was coming home Friday, so you can imagine his surprise when he saw his dad today at school.
Thibodeaux says he should be in town for two or three years before his next deployment.