A trip to SeaWorld turned into the surprise of a lifetime for a four-year-old girl who was reunited with her soldier father.
Army Specialist Eric Espinosa, who was responsible for finding, defusing or activating improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, had not seen his daughter Alexis for a year.
But as his daughter watched an underwater show at SeaWorld Orlando’s Shamu Stadium, the army combat engineer turned up in a surprise homecoming.
The show began with a tribute to all retired servicemen and women in the audience, when Alexis saw that she had popped up on the big screen. Suddenly, behind her, appeared a man in military fatigues.
In confusion, the little girl looked around to see if her father was really there and she could not contain her excitement when he tapped her on the shoulder.
She leapt out of her grandmother’s arms and ran up the steps to embrace her father as her eyes welled up.
‘I tapped her on the shoulder and she got down so fast that I couldn’t grab her,’ Espinoza told SeaWorld. ‘She got off that chair and ran up those stairs so it was really nice.’
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