United Airlines Pilot Surprises Soldier Son on Flight Back From Deployment

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A soldier returning from an overseas deployment got a big surprise on the flight back to the U.S. when he found out the pilot of the charter flight was his own father.

Captain Mario Lopes, a pilot for United Airlines, knew his son would be returning from Kuwait on April 14.

When he learned there was an opportunity to fly a military flight back to Norfolk, Virginia, on that very day, he added it to his schedule with the hope that his son would be among the soldiers on board.

Lopes hid out of sight in the cockpit during boarding; when crew members confirmed his son was on the plane, he snuck up behind him in the aisle.

"I made my way behind him and asked, 'First Lieutenant Lopes, what are you doing on my aircraft?'" Lopes told ABC News. "When he turned around we embraced for as long as I could hold him. I cannot express the emotions I felt holding my son after not seeing him for so long."

A video posted to YouTube that captured the emotional reunion has been viewed more than 550,000 times since April 18.