A Lincoln Heights military father delivered a special Valentine’s Day surprise to his three children when he came home from Afghanistan and reunited with them at their schools on Friday.
David Duran, a helicopter pilot for the California Army National Guard, had not seen his kids in a year.
His three children — Nicole, a 12th-grader; David, an eighth-grader; and Luz, a fourth-grader — each attend different schools in the Lincoln Heights area, and Duran decided he wanted to visit them all on Valentine’s Day.
The schools were the same ones that Duran himself attended as a child.
“I just made a phone call to all of the principals and said I’d like to come by and surprise my kids, get them out of class and take them home,” Duran said.
Carrying a giant pink and red cupcake with a heart on top, the 20-year Army veteran’s first stop Friday morning was at Nightingale Middle School. David, who was pulled out of class for the special reunion, immediately spotted his dad and went to hug him. The father and son shared a tearful, emotional embrace and exchanged “I love you’s” with each other.
Then, it was off to Lincoln Senior High School where, armed with a bouquet of flowers, he surprised Nicole. As cameras recorded the reunion, Nicole burst into tears and hugged her father tightly.
Finally, he went to Gates Elementary School in the afternoon to surprise his youngest, Luz, who — like her older siblings — was overcome with emotion and joy at the sight of her just-returned father. The young girl ran into her dad’s arms, giving him a big hug.
When David was asked if this was his best Valentine’s Day yet, he nodded his head and responded, “It is.”