WEST PLAINS, Mo. – An Army Reserves soldier came home from deployment to surprise his son at school.

Yesterday, Dave Masterson, who just returned home from a ten-month-long deployment, hid in a stairway at West Plains Elementary to surprise his third-grader son.

“We’re grateful to Dave for his service,” West Plains Schools posted on their Facebook page which showed the surprised student’s reaction to seeing his father.

Masterson told ozarksfirst.com he planned to surprise his son by picking him up from school and the regular pickup time. However, his wife and the school wanted to document the event so they improvised the moment.

“We set it up to surprise him coming out of lunch. There was a lot of anticipation waiting for him to come out. When he finally did and he saw me, he almost didn’t recognize me. I think I was crying before we hugged.” says Masterson. He says his son has always been his shadow and that people joke that they are twins.

After the video, Masterson’s son, Gavin, was released for the day. The family picked up Gavin’s sister and got ice cream.

Shortly after, Masterson decided to surprise his mother:

“That took a little planning. My brother had been using my truck while I was gone and told her he wanted to make plans to see her. So when we went to pick her up, she assumed it was him until she saw me. I’ve always been close with my mom and being gone was hard on her as well.” says Masterson.

Masterson is a Combat Medic Specialist who was deployed with the 811th Hospital Center out of Independence, MO to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.