Family Fun
Boy loses it when mascot removes his head to reveal soldier brother he thought was on deployment
5-year-old Gage couldn't believe his eyes when the mascot removed his head.
Cherie Gozon
11.01.22

Christmas is just around the corner, and Santa Claus is busy checking on his Naughty & Nice list. I bet you’re trying your best to make it on the ‘nice’ list and get something sweet from him, don’t you?

Unsplash - _drz_
Source:
Unsplash - _drz_

Children around this time are also busy making this Christmas list, and we might have one idea of what that wish list contains. Toys, toys, and lots of toys!

This kindergartener in Babeck Early Childhood Center in Ohio may have some games and toys on his list. But what Santa Claus could not ignore was the first one he wrote in his letter.

A Soldier’s Sacrifice

Gage Bietenduvel looks up to his brother Ian. For him, he is his hero, and he would like to become a brave soldier like him. However, Ian’s job entails a big sacrifice – leaving his family behind.

Unsplash - Diego González
Source:
Unsplash - Diego González

Ian knew joining the Army would mean being away from home for a long time. And when the time finally came for him to be deployed, it made little Gage sad and longing for his brother.

A Kindergartener’s Christmas Wish.

Ian’s Christmas wish list wasn’t that long, but it was special. He wanted a Nintendo Switch with Mario Kart and Mario Smash (Super Smash bros.), but the number one item on his list was wishing his brother Ian would come home.

YouTube Screenshot - WLWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WLWT

It had been eight months since he was away. He probably thought the holidays wouldn’t be so merry without his brother. But would Santa grant his special wish?

A Sweet Surprise for Being Nice

We know how Santa could never say ‘no’ to those who were nice all year long, and Ian might have been one of those because he granted his wish. Or shall we say, Ian, granted that wish. He flew to Ohio for a bit of surprise for his brother.

Facebook Screenshot - Butler County Sheriff's Office
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Butler County Sheriff's Office

He coordinated with Ian’s school, Babeck Early Childhood Center, and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to pull off his special surprise.

School Assembly Turned Emotional Homecoming

The school arranged for a general assembly of the entire school. There were kids in the hall, and the school principal hyped up the crowd leading to that special moment. But first, the disguise: Ian wearing the Edgewood Cougar’s mascot costume.

Facebook Screenshot - Butler County Sheriff's Office
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Butler County Sheriff's Office

The principal called some students to play a game. One of those was Gage. Then, he called the mascot and let him sit across from the players. They played a simple game of fill-in-the-blanks and alternately asked the players and the mascot to fill in the blanks of his statement.

YouTube Screenshot - WLWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WLWT

The cougar lost the game – well, they planned it that way – and the principal revealed it to the students who was wearing that costume. Gage has no idea and is in for a big surprise.

YouTube Screenshot - WLWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WLWT

The moment Ian took off the head of the mascot, it only took a second for Gage to look at him and recognize that the cougar was his brother. The little guy ran towards his towering brother, and Ian lifted him for a tight hug. Tears of joy were all over Gage’s face.

YouTube Screenshot - WLWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WLWT

Their mother, Kelly, said she was happy he made it home for that surprise. She missed her son but said that Gage missed him most. It seems like the Bietenduvels would have a very merry Christmas after all.

YouTube Screenshot - WLWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WLWT

Watch their heartwarming reunion and don’t forget to share this to someone who would love to feel the holiday cheer!

By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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