Army dad surprises 6-year-old daughter at her birthday party

Nadine Bells
Good NewsJanuary 31, 2012

Last week, Ella Young turned 6 years old.

On Saturday, friends and family gathered to wish the little girl a happy birthday — and to witness a heartwarming surprise.

Ella's military dad was home from Afghanistan. She just didn't know it yet.

Ella was brought on stage at the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin, Florida, where she could see that she was surrounded by loved ones. Behind her as an oversized cardboard cupcake.

As the crowd sang "Happy Birthday", Ella climbed a step stool, having been instructed to blow out the candle on top of the cardboard cupcake.

As she leaned over the cupcake, the top slid off to reveal her dad, Army Reserve Sergeant Robert Young, still in his fatigues.


Ella's 7-year-old brother Clay raced over to Robert, too. Robert had been stationed in Afghanistan for a year and wasn't due to return for a few more weeks.

"I can't imagine anything making me happier," Robert said of reuniting with his family.

"When I saw him pop out and then I knew it was my dad, I was surprised. It was weird. I feel so happy," Ella said, later adding, "I'm going to go home and wrestle with him!"

Ella wasn't the only one to receive an unexpected gift. Lee Buick GMC in Crestview gave Sergeant Young a brand-new Jeep as a homecoming present.