USA

California firefighter surprises daughter, 10, in tearful reunion

A brave firefighter was met with waterworks when he finally returned home.

Josh Padrón, a San Jose fire engineer who had been deployed for 27 days to battle the wildfires in Northern California, surprised his 10-year-old daughter on Oct. 19. The heartwarming homecoming was captured on video by Padrón’s wife, Silvia, a small-business owner who sells custom hats and shirts.

“Oh my God!” screamed a shocked Eliana before leaping from the couch to greet her much-missed father. Padrón, who only had two days off during his deployment, is seen rubbing his hands together in sweet anticipation before giving his daughter a long-anticipated hug. “How are you? I missed you!” he said. “You OK?” he added to his sobbing daughter, who had covered her face with her hands before wiping away tears.

“I really just missed him. I would cry to my mom and say, ‘I miss him,’ ” the daddy’s girl told station KTVU. “When he came home it really surprised me.”

Padrón, who had been fighting the North Complex Fire and August Complex Fire, both in Northern California since mid-September, hatched the scheme to surprise his daughter with his wife, who had her cellphone at the ready. He drove for two hours to get back to his family in the San Juan Bautista area south of San Jose.

“I was expecting, ‘Oh my goodness, Dad’s home,” Padrón told KTVU.

“But the emotional aspect of it got me right here,” he said, gesturing to his heart.

He called the moment “priceless” and noted that many firefighters will be returning home from fighting a record number of blazes in the West Coast state.

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