TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — When two local boys went to see Santa Claus at the Westfield Citrus Park mall Tuesday, they asked for one thing: to have their dad, deployed with the US Coast Guard, home for the holidays.
Little did they know, Santa already delivered on their Christmas wish.
Petty Officer First Class Caleb Taylor has spent the last eight months deployed in Bahrain.
When he and his wife Jennifer found out last minute he’d be back before Christmas, they turned to the big guy with the beard to pull off their big surprise.
“They’ve been talking about wanting Daddy to come home and who better to bring him home at Christmas than Santa?” Jennifer said.
“I’m ready to see them,” Caleb said, dressed in uniform as he prepared to climb inside a giant Christmas gift shaped box. “It’s been a long time.”
When 7-year-old Jaxon and 5-year-old Jase sat on Santa’s lap, they knew exactly what they were going to ask him for.
“You believed Santa was going to bring Dad home?” we asked Jaxon. “Yes,” he said with confidence after watching his dad burst out from inside the box.
There was laughter, tears, and applause as the big surprise attracted a crowd inside Santa’s station in the mall.
“It’s the best day ever,” Jaxon said, after giving his dad a big hug.
The Taylors say Santa brought a gift not just for the boys, but for their entire family…a gift more special than anything money could buy.
“Priceless,” Caleb said. “Priceless.”