Having a parent cheer you on from the stands can mean the world to a kid in sports.
13-year-old Jada McGee knows how heartbreaking it is not to have her mom attend her track meets. Fortunately, it’s not because she didn’t want to be there though. It’s because her mom, Captain Erika Woodson, was on a military assignment in a completely different state.
Being away from home was tough on Erika too. It’s common knowledge that service members make a lot of sacrifices to keep our country safe. Giving up time with their loved ones and missing important events are two difficult ones on the list.
Mom Erika hadn’t seen her family in six whole months. She was on a three-year assignment for the military in Anchorage, Alaska, which is thousands of miles away from their home in Sacramento, California.
She told Inside Edition:
“Being apart from my children and not being able to be there for their activities was really hard.”
Jada was on the track team at Edward Harris Junior Middle School.
The teen’s mom had missed each one of her races that season because of the distance between them. So, as her champion race approached, there wasn’t any reason for her to think it would be any different.
What Jada didn’t know is that her mom had actually cooked up a special surprise…
Erika secretly flew home so she could attend Jada’s big track meet.
But instead of just watching from the bleachers – she planned to surprise her daughter near the finish line of her race! Luckily, the whole thing was captured on film by a friend.
Captain Erika Woodson had to be very sneaky at first to keep her homecoming under wraps.
According to Daily Mail, she dressed in her uniform so Jada could notice her from far away at the track meet. In the end, it seemed to help!
Erika waited nervously on the sidelines as her daughter’s 4X100 meter relay race began.
After several moments, she couldn’t hold back any longer. The mom ran onto the track right beyond the finish line and started to cheer.
Jada did indeed recognize her mom standing at the finish line. The sight helped motivate her too!
In an interview with Inside Edition, Jada said:
“Coming down the home straight I was excited because I was in first place and I saw my mom close to the finish line so it made me start running faster. She was putting her hands up and clapping and I was like ‘oh, shoot, that’s my mom!’”
The end of the race was the sweetest part of all.
Jada, who’s a talented track star, ran over the finish line and right into her mother’s arms! It was the first hug they’d shared in six long months.
The clip is so beautifully heart-tugging that it’s been watched millions of times online.
Jada and Erika are both emotional as they lovingly hold each other after the race (which her team won). Talk about a moment that neither of them will ever forget.
“So many emotions through my entire body. When she buried her face into my shoulder, it was one of the best hugs that I’ve had in my life.”
Grab a tissue and watch the military mom’s track meet surprise for yourself below!
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