Why This Army Dad Traded Fatigues for a Coyote Costume



An Army father delighted and surprised the son he hadn't seen in two months when he dressed up as a coyote and crashed the school pep rally.

More on Yahoo Shine: Wife Surprises Army Husband With 100-Pound Weight Loss

For the past two months, E-4 Army Specialist Anthony Garza, 25, has been stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, and has been unable to see his family. His wife, Julisa Marie, and their two children, Aiden Matthew, 4, and Anthony David, 5, live about 400 miles away in Penitas. Garza had recently planned a three-day trip home and wanted to make an unannounced visit to Anthony David’s kindergarten classroom. 

Julisa Marie had contacted Corina Pena Elementary School to organize the reunion and was informed that a pep rally was scheduled to take place last Friday, the day of Garza’s visit. So she and the school principal hatched a plan to surprise Anthony David. Garza would wear the school coyote mascot costume and appear on stage, where his son would be seated for the 9 a.m. rally.

“When I arrived, I was surprised that seven different local news stations were there to interview me,” Garza told Yahoo Shine. “The plan was to tell Anthony David that he was being rewarded for being a good student."

As Anthony David waited patiently onstage wearing an America flag-themed paper hat, his father walked out wearing the coyote costume. When he removed the headpiece, Anthony David rushed into his arms. “He was shocked; he didn’t let go of me for a long time,” says Garza, who had also spent 2011 and 2012 stationed in Iraq and Kuwait. 

“I had a great day seeing him,” Anthony David told Texas local news station KVEO. After the pep rally, his father took him and his brother to Chuck E. Cheese’s and the park.

What does Garza have in mind for his next homecoming? He says he's already planning another surprise. 

More on Yahoo Shine:
Kind Gesture Toward Girlfriend of Deployed Soldier Becomes Internet Sensation
Father-Daughter Soldiers Return Home Safely From Afghanistan
Sister's Surprise Reunion With Older Brother: 'Miracles Happen'