Returning Mississippi soldier’s surprise plan backfires when no one is home

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, October 2, 2019

He’d been tracking her progress home on Google, so when she was close enough to the house that he figured it was safe, he went into the kitchen to get ready for the surprise.

On the security footage that has been shared numerous times on Facebook, Leonidas can be seen walking in and screaming when he spots Grimes. He immediately hugged his dad and Stardust walks in. Grimes holds his arm out for her, but she just stands there, yelling for her mother. Holly wastes no time running in and leaps into his arms. Then Amelia skips in and squeezes in past her brother to give her father a hug.

Grimes laughs at the video that shows Stardust still standing in shock with her hands over her mouth while the rest of the family is in a group hug. She leans back on the kitchen counter, takes a deep breath and finally joins in.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Holly was definitely surprised.

“My brain didn’t even really process it. It was so shocking. I wasn’t expecting him to be there,” she said.

This was Grimes’ third deployment. His first came in 2004, the same year he graduated from Enterprise Attendance Center. He spent a year in Iraq with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. He went back to Iraq in 2009, still with the 155th.

With a few more years left to serve before he’s eligible for retirement, he knows there is a possibility he’ll be deployed a fourth time.

That will be hard on his family, though they’ve learned to share him with the troops.

“You feel like this isn’t fair, but then we remind ourselves that this is what he does because there are people out there that need him. Especially being a Christian, that helps so much because we rely so much on God,” Holly said. “We try to raise our children to respect all faiths and we are very strong Christians in our home.”

She struggled to explain Grimes’ absence to their youngest.

“I told her, ‘Sometimes that’s the only time that people hear about God is just talking to your daddy,’” Holly said. “So as hard as it was for us to give him up for that time period, we have to go, ‘OK, there’s a reason for this because how many other people need him more than us?’ He might be saving a life or he might be bringing God to somebody who otherwise wouldn’t know who God was, or he’s out there doing things that help protect our country.”