Navy Dad Arriving Home From Deployment Pretends to Be Waiter To Surprise His Sons

3rd Class Petty Officer Roberto Tapiador had been in Djibouti for 9 months.

An 8-year-old boy and his younger brother couldn’t hold back their tears when they realized their waiter was actually their Navy dad, who had returned home from service.

3rd Class Petty Officer Roberto Tapiador was helping waitresses at a restaurant when his sons, Giancarlo, 8, and Jonah, 4, spotted him. In a video of their reunion, Giancarlo begins to cry.

“He’s very emotional,” his mom AnnaLyn Alfanso, of California, told  

Alfanso's husband had been deployed in Djibouti in Africa for the last nine months, and each time her sons have a school performance or presentation, they are disappointed their dad can’t attend.

“Me skipping, missing my boys’ birthdays, it’s bad enough,” Tapiador told KPIX.

When Thanksgiving came and went, Giancarlo asked his mom when their dad would return, and when Alfanso said she didn’t know, the 8-year-old prayed for his return on Christmas.

Days before the big day, Tapiador called home to let his wife know he would be coming home.

“He prayed every day [for him] to come home for Christmas,” Alfanso said. “It’s a miracle.”

She said they enjoyed Christmas Day with family and plan to spend several more months together before Tapiador returns to service.