U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Rob Thomas had been on a deployment and not seen his family in six months. So, he thought, what better way to return home and surprise his wife and two kids than by enlisting the help of the San Francisco 49ers?
While linebacker Dekoda Watson picked Thomas up from the airport, other players from the 49ers gave his wife, Kate, and their young children a special tour of Levi Stadium, which included playing catch on the field.
Once Thomas arrived, he quickly changed into workout gear, and made his way to the weight room with about eight players from the 49ers. He timed it so he would be finishing up on the bench press as his family walked through the door. With “teammates” surrounding him, he threw a gym towel over his head in exhaustion and then lifted it up to give his family the ultimate surprise.
It worked. His wife dropped her bags and ran into his arms in tears.
“I missed you all so much,” Thomas said as he embraced his children.
Thomas worked his tail off to organize the surprise not for himself, but for his wife.
“This was my first deployment with my family. Getting this set up, it wasn’t for me. It was to get (Katie) recognized, and the sacrifices you made,” he said to his wife and the rest of the group. “We don’t have family around, so she had to do it all by herself. Kids, getting them to baseball practice and gymnastics. She’s a full-time student, she’s graduating next month, and she’s my rock. This is for you.”
The 49ers posted the video of the emotional surprise on their Twitter account earlier in the week:
Unbeknownst to his family, @USAirForce TSgt Rob Thomas returned home from a 6 month deployment. His family thought they were just getting a tour of #LevisStadium… until this happened. pic.twitter.com/HhuHeTxMkk
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) April 17, 2018
According to SFGATE, Rob and Katie are both Air Force veterans, and met while they were deployed in Afghanistan.