VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Green Run High School senior Natalia Torres Toledo said she was fully prepared to walk across the graduation stage without her dad in the audience.
But she received a pleasant surprise.
She said she anticipated this major milestone to be just another day for her.
"I was sad that people had their dads with them, and I couldn't, and it made me not as excited for graduation," said Toledo.
Toledo's father, Hector Torres Reveron serves in the Navy, which requires him to miss some special occasions.
As Natalia's graduation date got closer, Reveron says he needed to deliver some sad news to her.
"It was a heartbreaking thing, because when I told her 'I'm not going to be at your graduation.' She cried a lot and that devastated my heart," said Reveron.
But there was a recent change of plans.
"In my command, they actually allowed me to have this opportunity to come and see her," explained Reveron.
Reveron said he was working off the West Coast when he got the OK to go home, and it was a secret kept from Natalia until Wednesday.
The surprise homecoming was all caught on camera.
Reveron said his family has had to make many sacrifices, such as adjusting their schedules to talk to him when he's working out of state or overseas.
He said distance from his family has made moments like this fonder.
"I've been dreaming about this moment her entire life. I'm really proud of her she's an honor student. I'm a pretty proud parent," he said.
For Natalia, that walk across the stage will be remembered forever.
"I'm just so happy he and my mom got to watch me walk across the stage and complete a chapter in my life," said Toledo.