Surprise reunion for Air Force family unfolds at Montgomery Zoo - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Surprise reunion for Air Force family unfolds at Montgomery Zoo

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Hannah Jones brought her daughter Hadley to the Montgomery Zoo Thursday night to see the Christmas Lights Festival but their outing turned into an experience they'll never forget.

As they went to take a train ride on the Santaland Express, they spotted a very special someone riding next to the conductor- Hannah's husband, Senior Airman Michael Jones with the United States Air Force.

Within moments, the soldier was back in the arms of his family, WSFA's cameras capturing the embrace Jones has been waiting for during his six month deployment overseas.

"I'm shocked. I didn't think he'd be home for Christmas. I was preparing myself for him not being home for Christmas as well as our daughter. It's amazing," Hannah Jones said.

"I think I saw her face and then I saw her hand cover her mouth and then I realized that she saw me. I thought I was going to pass out. I was so nervous and I was shaking. I was so full of emotion," Airman Jones, a Montgomery native, added.

The Jones family is currently stationed at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina but his wife traveled to Montgomery this week to be with relatives for the holidays in his absence. He told her he wouldn't make it home from Qatar until several days after Christmas, secretly working with his family members to set up the big surprise.

He chose the zoo as the location for the reunion and had his mom and other family members bring his wife and daughter to the zoo to see Christmas lights as he waited to come out.

"She's done so much through two deployments. My daughter was only a month old when I left for my first deployment and then after this deployment, she already three years old and so my wife has had to take care of her the first three years of her life by herself. So I wanted to do something big for her," Jones said of his wife.

"It makes it all worth it. Even if it wasn't a surprise. It makes the months and days all worth it, just having him back," Mrs. Jones told WSFA.  "I have a lot of friends whose husbands are still deployed and it's tough. It's the most honorable job I think you can have and I'm so proud of him and everything that he's done. It's great that he doesn't have to miss another Christmas with us. It's going to be the best Christmas ever."

Airman Jones says he is most looking forward to spending time with this family in an effort to make up for all of the months that he's been gone.

"Having him back with the rest of us is the best Christmas that we could ever ask for and I thank God for that," his mother, Debra Stewart, said.

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