Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Robert McClure’s birthday was Friday. He usually spends his birthday catching a Quad-Cities River Bandits game with his family but would be missing the tradition while stationed in Romania.
Or so everyone thought.
McClure’s 14-year-old son Alex took the field before Friday’s game to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. But first, the family watched a video of McClure from Romania.
In the video, McClure wished Alex good luck on the pitch and promised his whole family he would see them shortly.
Once Alex threw his pitch, he went to retrieve the ball from who he assumed was a River Bandits catcher.
Instead, the man behind the catcher’s mask was his father.
McClure had arrived home early from a deployment in Romania, traveling 20 hours to be there for Alex’s pitch.
Moments later, the tears flowed fast and free.
McClure had planned the surprise for months, trusting only his mother-in-law with the truth.
“We weren’t expecting him home until July 15,” McClure’s mother Barbara told the Quad-City Times. “We were going to surprise the family. He surprised us [instead].”