A birthday surprise an elementary student will never forget

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:31:55 AM HST   Updated On: Nov 08 2013 08:09:04 PM HST
WAHIAWA, Hawaii -

A birthday surprise of a lifetime for Riley Higa in Wahiawa. Her 10th birthday is coming up and it looked like her mother would still be deployed with the Air Force overseas.

So Riley wrote a letter to the president asking if her mother could come home.

Click here to see Nana Ohkawa's report.

In the letter it says, "Can you please call her boss and tell him or her to please let her off so she can come home for my birthday on Monday?"

Her mother, Melissa Higa, senior airman for the U.S. Air Force has been deployed in Korea for nine months.

Her grandmother could tell the distance was painful.

"She was pretty sad, and after her mom talked to her and said she couldn't come home, she told me 'I want to write a letter to the president' and I said 'OK we can do that,'" said grandmother Charline Rich.

The letter ended with, "I miss and love her very much and if she can't come I'll be very very sad, love Riley Higa grade 4th."

The surprise was set up with an interview. When asked why she wrote the letter, tears began to run down her face.

"I want my mom to come home for my birthday and I haven't seen her since February," said Higa.

Then her mom came out from behind curtains to surprise her.

Riley's tears kept flowing, this time full of joy for an embrace she thought she'd have to do without.

"Everyone says they don't know how we do it, but I think it's the families that sacrifice more. They are the ones that have to wait ... you try not to think about it too much, so when my mom told me that (she wrote a letter), you know I wanted to make it big for her. It had to be, it had to be big," said Melissa Higa.

It was big, and the party will be big too. The family plans to celebrate her birthday this weekend at the beach.


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