CLEARWATER, Fla — Four flights, a two-hour car ride, and a month of planning separated Isaac Wells from a pretty big moment on December 30.
"I was like 'Hey, you have a present coming, it's going to be there between the twenty-ninth and the first,'" he said.
Isaac enlisted in the navy three years ago and has only seen his mom, Kara Spaulding, a few times since then.
So as a Christmas gift, he brought himself to her favorite Clearwater restaurant, where she thinks she's meeting her boss. He tells ABC Action News that he partnered with his mom's recruiting agency, Aya Healthcare, to help make the surprise happen.
Moments after arriving at the restaurant, Kara got to hug her camo-wrapped "present." The room erupted into cheers.
"I was thinking he bought me another PlayStation. Because that's what he did the last time he came home. Because he thinks mom's a gamer," laughed Spaulding.
It's a surprise that comes at a time of transition for them both. Kara is logging long hours in the operating room at Mease Countryside Hospital. She moved from Texas to the Tampa Bay area for the job, in October.
"This is the furthest I have ever been away from my family. So it's a big trip and a big opportunity and I'm loving every minute of it," she said.
Isaac is currently stationed in Japan.
"I mean, I've been a mama's boy since forever," Wells laughed, "So being far away from my family has been one of the hardest things for me."
It's a visit that they both say they'll be making the most of, before Isaac heads back to Asia on January 6.
"The next time I'll get leave will probably be the next holiday period, which will be next year around this time," he said.