National Guardsman surprises younger brother following Afghanistan deployment
BATON ROUGE - At Friday night's Festival of Lights downtown most spectators were focused on the lights and snow. 10-year-old Peyton Ashley, however, was gearing up to run in the Reindeer Run 5k. One thing he didn't expect was for his older brother, Clayton to show up.
Clayton was due home from a deployment in Afghanistan soon but at the race's starting line he surprised his little brother who was speechless.
"I just started crying," Peyton said. "It was the best day of my life."
The plan had been in the works for a few days, but Clayton didn't know what to expect.
"I was really wondering what his reaction going to be," Clayton said. "I haven't seen him in so long, other than that I knew he was gonna be shocked, and it worked, it worked for sure.
The pair's bond is stronger than most. As a child, Peyton was born addicted to drugs and moved from home to home while his parents were locked up. The one constant in his life was his brother Clayton. Payton is now happy and healthy living with his step-grandmother. tonight a prime example of how far the two have come.
"He's grown up a lot," Clayton said. "He's doing a lot better, he's just an awesome kid. I couldn't ask for a better brother."
After the reunion, there was a race still to run. As the two trotted through Baton Rouge, Peyton's mind wasn't on the finish line.
"Just thinking good thoughts that he's here and how much fun we're going to have together," Peyton said. "It's just a perfect day."
After the race, the two at a loss for words when it came to the moment the first saw one another.
"It's not something you can sit down and tell somebody how it is," Clayton said. "It's just something that you have to do. A once in a lifetime chance.
A once in a lifetime chance Peyton won't forget.
"I never hardly get to see my brother that much," Peyton said. It's just really a dream come true to me."