An Army father on Sunday has raised more money than he asked for after setting up a GoFundMe page to bring his son home to Sacramento for the holidays.
KTLA sister station KTXL reported about his efforts on Thursday, when, through the screen of a borrowed iPhone, the Terrell family got the kind of reunion they have not had in a year with U.S. Army Pfc. Andre Terrell Jr.
"It's tough to put money away 'cause every time there's something that needs to be paid or some bill or something that comes up," said Andre Terrell Sr. "My wife she needs to have surgery, dental surgery, so that's an extra cost. Insurance doesn't pay that much of it."
All that was just some of what left the father at a loss for just how to bring his oldest home.
Even with a full-time job and driving for Uber on the side, it just was not enough to get the 23-year-old a Greyhound bus ticket when he recently found out Terrell Jr. got leave granted from his base, Fort Bliss, starting Sunday.
The Army doesn't cover travel expenses home for soldiers based stateside.
"Was excited when he told me but now it's like how do we get you here?" Terrell Sr. said earlier this week.
"It's becoming quite a bit more of a struggle than I thought it was," Terrell Jr. said.
Enlisted for about as long as his youngest sister has been alive, the young Army Stryker mechanic hated that he did not have the tools to fix this problem for his family.
His father turned to GoFundMe as a solution. As of early Thursday night, the page had only raised $80 in three days. But on Sunday, after KTXL's report, it has raised more than four times the $500 goal.
As KTXL helped him FaceTime to see his sister walking for the first time, three days before he might be able to see it all in person, the soldier's heart was full.
"Oh, it's like, I'm lost for words. For real," he said.
Terrell Jr. said he just hoped to be able to convert FaceTime into a real face-to-face for Christmas.