LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What unfolded at a local elementary school Friday led to shock, tears and hugs. It was a school assembly with a twist and a big surprise that led to a little girl's emotional reunion with her hero.
"So we have a big mystery box today!" a school official said to the crowd of elementary school students assembled in the school gym, to "OOS!" and "AHS!" from the students.
The Bridgepoint Elementary students thought they were wrapping up a lesson on how to ask good questions by figuring out what was inside a giant box.
"Is it human?" asked one student.
"Is it a human?" the teacher repeated. "Yes!"
What 7-year-old Kalyn Niehaus didn't know, was that the human inside the box was waiting to surprise her.
"Is it a girl?" asked another student.
"Good question! No! It's not a girl!" the teacher responded.
"Is it a boy?" Kalyn asked.
"Yes!" the teacher said, to cheers. "It's a boy!"
Kalyn nailed the fact that there was a boy inside, but not just any boy. It was her father, Jacob Niehaus. And when she ripped the cover off the box, the reaction was priceless.
"Hi baby!" Niehaus said, as the two hugged.
It's the first time Kalyn has gotten to hug her dad in one year. Jacob Niehaus has been deployed with the U.S. Coast Guard in Bahrain and just got home.
"So I've done lot of stuff over the last year -- pretty nerve-wracking -- but that was one of most nervous moments, just waiting for her," Niehaus said.
"It's been a ball of nerves this whole last week -- it's been anxiety, and nerves, and getting everybody ready," added Mindy Niehaus, Jacob's wife.
Now it's time to reconnect
"It's really big just getting to know the kids again because they've grown so much over the last year," Mindy added.
Now, Kalyn is rediscovering what makes her father so special.
"He makes me laugh," she said.
Kalyn also has a little brother. Their dad is home until the end of May, so they'll have plenty of time to spend together.
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