Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

1st-Grade Teacher Gets A Sweet Surprise — And We Aren’t Talking About The Donuts!

two-photo collage. on the left there is a picture of samantha norris looking surprise. on the right there is a picture of samantha and her mom hugging.

Being away from our loved ones is never easy, even when we know they’re serving a mission that’s greater than us all.

Samantha Norris has missed her mother, Army Sgt. Tamie Norris, every day for the past 11 months. Tamie spent those months deployed in Iraq and Jordan, far away from the family’s home in Austin, Texas. When she was brought home earlier than expected, the Army mom decided to surprise her daughter at work, and Samantha’s reaction was absolutely precious.

Samantha is a first-grade teacher at Harmony School of Innovation, a charter school in Austin. This is her first teaching job, and she yearned to share every moment with her mother. They’d discussed decorating Samantha’s classroom together, but it hadn’t happened due to Tamie’s deployment.

In a video of the big moment, Samantha’s jaw hit the floor when her camo-dressed mom walked confidently into her classroom unannounced. Tears sprung to her eyes as Tamie wrapped her in a big hug.

Students who were milling about suddenly looked up to see their teacher tearfully hugging a United States soldier. They’d heard stories about Samantha’s mother, but seeing her in uniform was very exciting!

“My kids were thrilled once they understood what was happening, of course,” Samantha said. “They have always been so curious about her, so getting to meet her and try on her gear was quite the experience!”

Not only was the surprise visit a win for the students, but Tamie also thought to bring along a box of donuts for a sweet treat. Then she let them try on some of her Army gear before settling in for story time.

Tamie made a big impression on the kids that day.

“I think seeing a strong woman in the military was a great girl-power moment,” Samantha said. “I even had one girl student say she wants to be ‘just like Ms. Norris’ mom when she grows up!”

Later, Samantha shared the video and photos of her mom’s visit on Instagram, where the story went viral.

“11 months too long without giving my mom a hug💛 the best surprise, welcome home!!!” she wrote in a caption.

What a special treat for Samantha — and her students! Tamie is a wonderful example of a strong woman and mother. We’re so glad she’s back in the homeland for a while.

Watch Samantha’s adorable reaction to seeing her mom at work in the video below, and be sure to share.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.