ORLANDO, Fla. - It was a holiday present that Monica Cabrera would treasure forever: the crowd at the restaurant where she was sitting broke into applause as her son Daniel Ceballos, a U.S. Marine, surprised her at breakfast.
"You know, I thought it wasn't real, he wasn't there, I was dreaming," Cabrera said. "I don't know, I don't have words to explain how I feel when I see him."
Ceballos is based at Camp Pendleton in California.
"We got the opportunity to finally come home after eight months," he said. "I was already ready, had everything planned, and coordinated it with my sister."
Ceballos wasn't finished though. After surprising his mother at breakfast, he dropped in on his aunt and uncle.
"He's my baby, I think I'm his second mom, right Daniel?" said Kenny Ruiz, Ceballos’ aunt. "He's very special."
Cabrera said they were hoping to make the next two weeks as special as possible.
"Talk to him, you know, see him, cook, do everything I can to make him happy and to be with him, because I don't know when I'm going to see him again," she said.
After this visit, Ceballos says that he is set to deploy. Thankfully though, he will ship out with the memories of a homecoming surprise that he had been thinking about since wanting to join the Marines.
"I've been waiting basically 20 years of my life to do so," he said.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.