Richland Co. (WACH)--It was anything but an ordinary lunch break for Danielle Banks.
The Rice Creek Elementary Fifth-Grader was expecting her father Danny to return from Kuwait later this month. But instead, he arrived late Monday night to surprise her at school Tuesday afternoon.
"I had to wait for bed time; which worked out pretty well because by the time the flight landed and I got to the house, it was around bed time," Danny Banks said.
The Army Engineer just finished his third tour of duty and has been gone the last eight months. Students were told cameras were on campus to look at the school's healthy food options; but after about 20 minutes, the curtains were opened, and tears of emotion soon followed when Danielle saw her father.
Danielle's mother Consuelo Banks said the idea was well worth it.
"A couple of months ago, she said she had a dream that he was going to surprise her at school. So I think that motivated us a little more to try to make this happen."
The military vet said he does not show much emotion, but that the time away takes a toll.
"The holidays that you miss, the first day of school, family vacations, you miss all of that. Seeing Danielle truly was a magical moment for me."
Danielle said she was very excited and that she wants to challenge her father to a dance battle on a video game.
The couple then went on to surprise his 13 year old son at Kelly Mill Middle School afterward.