RAYMORE, Mo. - Sgt. Ross Hobbs of the Missouri National Guard knew he wanted to make his homecoming from Afghanistan after an 11-month deployment something special. For months, he and his sister back in Raymore conspired over ways to surprise his mother, and on Sunday night, he delivered.
Hobbs, a 22-year old Apache attack helicopter mechanic, told his mother he would not be returning to Missouri with the rest of his unit on Sunday due to a knee injury suffered in training. He slipped out of a ceremony welcoming back soldiers in Warrensburg unnoticed , and his plan swung into motion.
"Most of the people in this house knew what was going on but me," Katie Hobbs admitted on Monday.
What was going on was an elaborate ruse. Hobbs' sister took him from Warrensburg to a Raymore Pizza Hut, who dressed him in a uniform and put him behind the wheel of a delivery vehicle to take his family the six pies they had ordered for dinner.
At one point, mother Hobbs had said she wanted to cook instead. Her relatives demanded pizza instead.
Just after 5:30 p.m., a disguised Sgt. Hobbs knocked on his own front door.
"I come around the corner, and I can't even explain the absolute joy that I saw when I saw his face," Mrs. Hobbs said Monday. "I screamed, I squealed, I jumped up and down. I was probably the most... blubbering idiot you've ever seen."
Family members captured the surprise on video, and posted it to YouTube: Watch the video below. There is language that some viewers may not be comfortable hearing.
"It went a lot better than I thought it was going to be," Sgt. Hobbs told 41 Action News on Monday, describing his return home as "Very, very relieving. Because I'm home,through the door hugging my parents and I'm nowhere near danger."
By Monday night, Mrs. Hobbs had set aside her initial irritation over being duped, and was cooking dinner with a smile on her face.
"My family is here. It's wonderful," She said. "There's nothing like it. Absolutely nothing like it. I wouldn't trade it for anything."