A woman expecting a grill delivery thought she’d received the wrong item – only for her Army husband to burst from the box after returning home early from deployment.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Gerlach had not seen his wife Elizabeth or their children in 10 months while he served in Kuwait and travelled to Iraq and Qatar.
Doting husband Rob, 50, was determined to make up for his absence in a big way and began researching how to surprise his family when he returned home.
He looked up other homecoming surprises soldiers had undertaken in the past and discovered he couldn’t find any reunions with a “delivery” element to them.
Rob, from St. Charles, Illinois, has worked for Sears for over 33 years and contacted his employers to see if they’d help make his vision a reality.
Rob led Elizabeth, 45, to believe they were being given a grill as a thank-you to the family for his service, but when the box was delivered, she got a big surprise.
On delivery day, Elizabeth – being secretly filmed from a distance – answered the door and looked confused. She told the delivery drivers she was expecting a grill, not a fridge.
The Sears staff then removed the front of the box, allowing Rob to burst out with a bouquet of flowers in hand, completely surprising Elizabeth.
Rob said: “I was nervous, excited, and hopeful my wife wouldn’t figure it out before the box side came down.
“I was on the phone with my wife a couple of hours before, telling her I was completing end-of-tour paperwork in Texas, but really I was in the Sears vehicle on my way to surprise her.”
Rob and Elizabeth’s kids, Colin and Ava, were born as triplets, but unfortunately their brother Ben passed away three years ago from a respiratory issue, having suffered from cerebral palsy.
Elizabeth now dedicates her time to helping children with disabilities through Ben Smiles, a foundation she created and runs, with more information being found at bensmiles.org.
She said: “I was surprised and shocked, happy of course because [Rob’s] been gone for so long, but I was in total shock.
“I was confused because I saw this big box with a refrigerator and I was expecting a grill. We had hamburgers and everything ready for grilling that night.
“Rob left last July so I was looking forward to the day he’d come back.
“We kept in fairly close contact quite a bit through text or Facetime, but just having to maintain everything, it’s been pretty challenging.”
Rob added: “Anything is worth putting a smile on someone’s face that you love.”
(Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media)