Last year when Air Force Capt. Angela Humm got notice of her first deployment – a year in South Korea – she had to tell her daughter Abigail Humm that she wouldn’t be able to attend her graduation from Bellevue West High School.
Abigail told her not to worry – Humm could watch a livestream of the ceremony.
“We’ve been lucky you haven’t had to be deployed yet,” Abigail said then. “Now it’s our turn.”
“She was so mature,” Humm said about Abigail, one of the 12 children she and her husband have in their blended family.
“She stepped in to many of my roles when I was gone,” Humm said. “I wanted to find a way to thank her and show her how proud I was of her.”
The planning started last September. Humm went to her supervisors and proposed an idea: Could she maybe fly home a couple of weeks early so she could surprise her daughter at her high school graduation?
Once that was approved, she went to Bellevue West’s principal, Kevin Rohlfs, with a question: What are the chances I could sneak on stage to give Abigail her diploma?
Humm flew home on Thursday night, rented a car and booked a hotel room so as not to raise her daughter’s suspicion. She even timed her texts to look like she was in a time zone 14 hours ahead.
On Saturday, Humm hid in an office behind the graduation stage and waited for Abigail’s name to be called.
“I was incredibly nervous,” Humm said. “I just kept thinking ‘Don’t cry, don’t trip in your heels, don’t fall over.’ ”
As Abigail, 18, posed for her photo on stage, her mom walked up behind her, leaned forward and whispered a line from the movie “Robots”: “I ran all this way in cha-cha heels.”
Abigail turned around. It took a second before it hit her. Then her eyes went wide, her jaw dropped and she flung her arms around her mom, pulling her into a tight hug.
“I was just, like, ‘You aren’t supposed to be here. What? What? How?’ ” Abigail said. “It was the biggest shock.”
When she went back to sit with her friends, Abigail saw most of them wiping tears.
“I’m pretty sure my mom made people that she didn’t even know cry,” she said. “It was emotional for everyone.”
Abigail plans to go to Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha campus to study baking and pastry.
“She’s an amazing person,” Humm said of her daughter. “She deserved this and I’m just so glad to be home with her to celebrate.”
world-herald news service
Air Force Capt. Angela Humm’s appearance Saturday at Bellevue West’s graduation ceremony “was the biggest shock” for daughter Abigail.
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