BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A little boy from Boardman got his Christmas wish Wednesday night when his dad, who had been deployed since October, came home early.
Six-year-old Evan Davis walked up to Santa’s cabin at the Southern Park Mall with his letter in hand.
The only thing on his list? For Santa to bring his dad, SSgt. Billy Davis, home for Christmas.
Evan and his 13-year-old sister, Emma, had no idea Santa was about to grant them that wish. While posing for a picture on Santa’s lap, their dad photobombed the shot by sneaking up behind them and giving Evan a kiss on the cheek.
WKBN 27 First News was behind the scenes and captured the kids’ reaction.
“It’s one thing that we all share in the military, being away from our families, missing holidays after holidays. You never know what you’re gonna miss, what you’re gonna be there for,” Billy said. “Christmas was real touch-and-go there for us, wasn’t sure we were gonna make it back in time.”
Billy and Santa worked out the special mission with help from mom, Loretta, who was in on the surprise.
Evan wrote his letter to Santa last week in school, and brought it to him right away.
“We came over, there was no line, no wait and he showed Santa his letter. They talked for about five minutes or so, and you could tell it was a pretty serious conversation,” Loretta said. “Well, they went to take his picture, he turned it around and I read the letter. There wasn’t a dry eye.”
When Loretta found out Billy was coming home, she knew exactly who needed to be in on the surprise.
“What better person to grant his wish than Santa? Because that’s the only thing he asked for. Not a single toy for himself, just for his daddy to come home,” she said.
The kids were overwhelmed and speechless after the surprise, thrilled to have their father home for the holidays. Evan already had a list of things he wanted to do with his dad and once the shock wore off, he couldn’t stop talking.
Still, Billy said the homecoming is matched with mixed emotions.
“You’re excited to do it, but you feel guilty at the same time and the more excited you get, the more guilty you feel. You know everybody that’s still left over there and what they’re going through, and I just take everything I can get.”
For now, the Davis family has a lot of catching up to do, including getting used to their new dog. But they’re putting this Christmas in the books with a memory that will last a lifetime.