A local eight-year-old girl got the surprise of her life Wednesday morning. She had been waiting for months to see her father. He's in the Air Force and was deployed to Afghanistan.
First Sergeant Anthony Sims has been in Afghanistan and Kuwait, waiting to see his family for seven long months.
He just got back Tuesday and the only person he hasn't seen yet is his 8-year-old daughter Raven.
"She's been asking me and I haven't had the heart to tell her when I was coming home," Sims said. "Every time she calls she's like, 'Dad, when are you coming home?'"
Raven is spending her summer at a theater camp in Richmond. She thought she was going to be a part of an assembly. But hiding behind the curtain among the chorus was her dad.
"I was sitting back there thinking, 'man I want to get up. Man I want to get up and surprise her,'" he said.
When the curtain pulled back and the singing started, the long wait was finally over.
"I was really, really, really surprised," Raven said.
"It was just good to see her face," Anthony Sims said. "(I enjoyed watching) her look at me twice like, 'wait, hold on. Who's that? Is that who I think it is?' So that was really fun."
Raven did a few fist pumps after hugging her dad.
Sims says he's tried not to think about this moment too much while he's been serving overseas. He knew it'd just make the time away that much harder.
Sims doesn't know how long he'll be back in town, but he's hoping it'll be a long time before he has to leave his kids again.
"Hopefully they won't forget this and I know I won't," he said. "We've been apart for a short period of time and I'm back."
Sims has been serving in the Air Force for 21 years. He says it's getting harder to be away from his family now that both of his children are getting older.
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