JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Christmas came a little early for a couple of students at Atlantic Coast High School. Their big brother, a Marine, surprised them by coming home a little earlier than expected.
Trey and Deanna Simons got the surprise of their lives Friday, when their brother, Corporal Eric Simons, walked into their classrooms.
Corporal Simons has been stationed in Okinawa, Japan. And this is the first time he's been home in more than a year. He said, "It's the greatest feeling. It won't be long, but it's enough time to see everyone that I need to see. And see everyone I love and care about."
The surprise took some top secret planning by the Simons family and school administrators, and it went off without a hitch. The first stop was Trey in his Spanish Class. The shocked 9th grader said, "I'm shaking right now, actually. I did not expect this at all."
Then it was on to Deanna's class, where the waterworks started to flow, just as her brothers predicted. "He wasn't supposed to come home until next week," she said through happy tears.
The holidays will mean a little more to the Simons siblings this year. They'll have more time to laugh and more time for hugs, after an unforgettable family reunion.
Corporal Simons has a couple of weeks to spend with his family, before returning to duty. He says he's most looking forward to some homemade Italian food.