Army Spc. Travis Ruggiero wasn’t supposed to come home from Afghanistan until March, so you can imagine his mother’s shock and surprise when she nearly sat on his lap on Christmas Eve.
Travis was granted 21 days of leave from his role as a mechanic, and used that time to concoct and execute an elaborate holiday surprise for his mother, Leslie, at the hospital she works at.
On Christmas Eve, Leslie and the rest of the maternity ward nurses at Ocean County Medical Center in Brick Township, NJ were told that Santa Claus had arrived to thank them for working during the holidays. Upon visiting “Santa” — Travis, elaborately disguised with face-hiding glasses and all — Leslie was handed an envelope that contained a card from her son, which sent her to tears. Luckily, he was there to console her:
Travis wasn’t done with his Santa duties after his hug with his mom was complete, however. As he told Today, he and a friend had also put together “about 50 grab bags (with) cookies, candy, (and) candy canes,” which they distributed to patients and nursing staff.