A Murrieta soldier pulled off a homecoming surprise Saturday that took one month of meticulous planning to lay out.
Army Specialist William Jacquet has been in Afghanistan for the past six months, but when he found out he would be coming home early, he knew he wanted to make his return a memorable one.
"I came up with the idea to surprise my wife because I knew that she would be happy to see me and she wouldn't expect it,” said Jacquet. “And I'm always trying to come up with these crazy ideas to excite her and do random things to make her happy."
Jacquet has served in the army for the past three and a half years. He said in the end, the hardest part of his plan was keeping the sweet surprise a secret.
The soldier decided to get his entire family – expect his wife Selina and two children Ricky and Natalie – in on the reunion.
The location: RJ’s Steakhouse in Murrieta. The plan: surprise Selina, seated with her family, with bouquet of flowers in hand.
The opening line: “Sorry for the wait. I didn’t forget about you, I promise,” Jacquet uttered to his wife after walking through the restaurant’s kitchen and to her table.
“Daddy, I missed you,” his son Ricky yelled as he embraced his father.
Selina, clearly stunned, told NBC 7 she’s glad her solider is home and, more importantly, safe.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked,” she said. “It just didn’t feel real.”
While this trip was his first deployment, it was also his last. Jacquet said it was too tough to be away from his family, so he’s home for good.