Navy brother surprises little sister after three years
Little Ryleigh Gardner from New Jersey hadn't seen her big brother, Navy Petty Officer Second Class Frank Schaffer, for three whole years ... until this tearjerking surprise. Fox News reports, "Sailor Frank 'Tommy' Schaffer surprising his third-grade sister at her elementary school, giving her flowers."
Their mother was so excited for their reunion, she was in tears.
His little sister was highlighted on KYW-TV, "I never knew he would actually come here."
Schaffer had been deployed to Japan, and he and his little sister had only seen each other via Skype and Facetime. "It's pretty rough ... being away from family -- especially a younger sibling," says the Navy officer.
Even though they spent so much time apart, Ryleigh never stopped looking up to him. WABC reports, "Ryleigh had to choose a role model as part of a school project. She chose big brother."
Right before the big surprise, as Ryleigh was called on stage, Schaffer hid behind the curtain and read what she wrote about him. Ryleigh says she can't stop smiling, and their mother is thrilled he's back as well:"I'm just very happy that they're together," she said, in tears.
Schaffer plans to finally spend some quality time with his little sister in person.
More heartwarming stories on AOL:
Dog goes wild when reunited with 'dad'
Jennifer Lopez helps long-lost lovers reunite
'Cousins Undercover': Local hero emotional over home renovation