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A U.S. soldier returning from deployment got the surprise of a lifetime when his pilot father surprised him on his flight home.

When Capt. Mario Lopes, a United Airlines pilot, learned that his son was set to return from Kuwait on April 14, he seized the opportunity to pilot a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, that same day.

As he hoped, his son, First Lt. Mario Lopes, ended up being a passenger on the flight, and the excited father worked with the flight crew to pull off an amazing surprise reunion.

"I gave my lead flight attendant, Audrey, a bag of Mario's favorite cookies to distract him while I tried to sneak on board," Lopes told ABC News.

Once his son was on board and before the flight took off, Lopes snuck up behind him.

"I made my way behind him and asked, 'First Lt. Lopes, what are you doing on my aircraft? When he turned around, we embraced for as long as I could hold him. I cannot express the emotions I felt holding my son after not seeing him for so long."

The heartwarming reunion was captured on camera, and the YouTube video is touching the hearts of people across the country.

"I have been flying since I was 17, I've worked for multiple companies prior to my 27-year career at United. I've had a lot of memories, but this flight is by far the most important to me," the happy father said.

Watch the emotional reunion above.


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