Hayden Synder, 7, got an early birthday present and an early Christmas present Thursday when his dad, Marc Snyder, a chief with the Coast Guard deployed at the island nation of Bahrain, came home early.
Kerri Lanzieri, the social worker at William Winsor Elementary School, said that during a parent-teacher conference, Hayden's mom, Tammra, told her and Hayden's teacher, Andrea Patnaude, that he wanted his dad to come home for his birthday, Dec. 23. They started making plans.
"About a month ago I got the news that he (Marc) was going to come home for Christmas," Tammra said, and that's what they told Hayden. But they didn't tell him he'd be home a few days before his birthday, too.
So they made plans with the school, she said, to surprise him during class today. Patnaude said Hayden was just talking to her this afternoon about how his dad was coming home for Christmas. She knew Marc would actually be there within 10 minutes.
At about 2:30 p.m., Marc entered the classroom behind Hayden, who was facing away from the door.
"I thought we had to pick him up from the airport tomorrow," Hayden said, then, in the classroom, he felt someone behind him.
"I tapped him on the shoulder," Marc said. Then Hayden turned around and saw his dad.
"He (Hayden) was so excited," Patnaude said, "He just jumped in his arms."
The family just moved to Rhode Island from New Jersey, Tammra said. Marc left on pre-deployment May 2, then came back in July to move them to their new Smithfield home before heading back to Bahrain the same week.
Tammra said it's good to have Marc back, especially for Hayden. "He missed him (Marc) terribly," she said.