Watch: 49ers stage surprise family reunion when Air Force sergeant returns from deployment

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Shutdown Corner
The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/sfo" data-ylk="slk:San Francisco 49ers">San Francisco 49ers</a> hosted an Air Force family this week for a special reunion. (49ers Twitter)
The San Francisco 49ers hosted an Air Force family this week for a special reunion. (49ers Twitter)

One San Francisco-area family thought they were getting a special behind-the-scenes tour of Levi’s Stadium this week, meeting players and seeing the facilities.

But as Air Force Technical Sergeant Rob Thomas’ wife and two children were on the Levi’s field, playing catch and posing for photos, Thomas was getting picked up at the airport by 49ers’ linebacker Dekoda Watson.

Thomas had been deployed for six months, and was finally back home – but his family didn’t know he was back.

“This is a special day,” Watson tells a camera in his car. “I’ve never done one of these things before, but you see at football games, when you have a soldier come back and surprise their family on the football field, that’s what we’re about to do today.”

Once Watson and Thomas arrive at Levi’s, the players put Thomas on a weight bench and bring his family into the room. Thomas is lifting, getting encouragement from the players, then sits up and removes the towel from his head.

The stunned look on his wife’s face says it all.

The players cheer as the couple embraces.

Fighting not to cry, Thomas said he wanted the special reunion to give recognition to his wife for the sacrifices she’s made.

“We don’t have family around, so she had to do it all by herself – the kids, baseball practice, gymnastics, plus she’s a full-time student, about to graduate… She’s my rock,” Thomas said.

Is it dusty where you are too?

What to Read Next