What began as a normal day in AP Algebra class for 13-year-old Kayden Hawkins turned out to be six months-worth of answered prayers all pouring in at once.
Sgt. Shan Hawkins is a U.S. Army medic recently deployed to Iraq. He was separated from the boy he calls his "best friend in the entire world." Sgt. Hawkins made an emotional surprise entrance into Ms. Hernandez's algebra class on Friday afternoon decked out in his uniform. He immediately spotted his son, Kayden, in the back right corner staring back at him in shock.
"Come here!" he called.
Kayden, frozen in his chair, took a moment to realize who he was looking at. He ran from his chair and dove into his father's arms, embracing him as tightly as his little arms could.
Tears rushed down his rosy red cheeks as he buried his face in his dad's chest. His classmates' sobs eventually erupted into cheers and congratulatory chatter. His dad checked him out of school early to hit the road and catch up on old times.
After missing three birthdays consecutively due to deployments, Sgt. Hawkins was adamant about maximizing the time the two have together.
"I've never been more nervous in my entire life than I was just then," Sgt. Hawkins said. "I think that was the hardest walk I've ever made from that front door to this classroom."
He fought off tears to repeatedly say that Kayden is his best friend, and he couldn't wait to return home to him.