Military dad deployed overseas surprises son at high school football game
MIDLOTHIAN, TX - A Texas high school student who thought his father was thousands of miles away got a surprise at his football game Friday night.
Jayce Melton, a senior at Midlothian High School some 25 miles southwest of Dallas, was ready to play his final home game as a wide receiver for the Midlothian Panthers.
Jayce was selected as the team's honorary captain that night, and his extended family was there cheer him on, except -- or so the teen thought - his father, who has been deployed overseas for three years, according to ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Danny Melton has been able to visit home periodically during his deployment but has missed many of his son's high school moments.
He traveled home to Midlothian from Italy to surprise Jayce for the big game Friday night, WFAA reported.
"He thinks I'm still overseas in Italy," Danny Melton told WFAA before the game. "I'm just going to give him a huge hug and tell him how proud I am of him."
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WFAA captured the heartwarming moment on video.
Jayce, clad in cleats and his no. 15 jersey, walked onto the field as his father was escorted into the stadium. The announcer then told Jayce to look behind him to the 50-yard line where his dad was walking toward him in full uniform.
The father and son ran to embrace each other beneath the bright stadium lights as cheers erupted from the hometown crowd.
"I had no idea," Jayce told WFAA.
The proud father and son stood side by side as the national anthem played before the game.
Jayce expressed pride in his father. "I just like what he does for the country," he said.