A local middle schooler had an unexpected visitor today.
Her dad, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Ericson, has been overseas for 6 months. Ericson made it safely back home yesterday but decided to surprise his daughter at Northside Middle School.
Olivia Ericson says, "Now everything is complete...I got everything I need."
The eighth grader is known as a daddy's girl at heart.
"She's just like her daddy. She has the same temperament. She's a daddy's girl and it's been really hard," says her mom, Pamela.
Lt. Col. Ericson was unexpectedly sent to Libya in March.
"I thought he just might be at work late, and then I asked mom and she's like 'he got sent away,'" says Olivia.
Ericson adds, "My daughters came home from school and I was already gone."
Olivia says for months she missed her dad. "I was doing track for him, and then he missed all of my track season, but I did good so I could do good for him. Then I missed all of summer with him. We had plans.
She says the days added up. "Then he missed softball season, which I did so he would be proud of me for doing sports and being good At them," says Olivia.
For Olivia it was 26 weeks without her best friend, until Thursday when she finally got to hug him.
"Am I dreaming, because I didn't expected him to be here at all," says Olivia.
Her Mom says, "She deserves a surprise. She's worked hard. It's been a long 6 and a half months to not have your father there."
Now, happy tears replace sad ones for Olivia.
"He'll be there to help me when ever I need his help. He'll be there to hold me when I need him to hold me. I'll just be with him," says Olivia.
It was an unexpected surprise to help erase an unexpected departure.
Her Dad says, "Hopefully, when she thinks of this deployment she's not going to think about the fact that I was gone right away and that she didn't get to say goodbye, but the fact that she's getting an opportunity to say that this was the time that you surprised me at school, and that's what I wanted to do."