COLUMBIA, Missouri (CNN/KMIZ) – A Missouri woman got more than she ordered when she went out to dinner this week.
She got the surprise of her life when her son, a soldier, showed up after nine months in Afghanistan.
Brian Gardner had been planning to surprise his mom, Tammy Coats, for more than two months. He found out he was coming back home to the U.S. in march, but kept it a secret.
It was a close call at first — his mom almost saw him when she walked in. Brian hid out in Olive Garden’s kitchen waiting to surprise her.
He pretended to be a waiter, bringing ordered drinks to the table.
“Here you go mama!” he said.
“Ohhhh!!!!! Oh my God!” she said.
The restaurant cheered loud applause.
“I believe him, my other son, and my mom, everybody else knew but me. I had absolutely no idea he was going to be here today,” Coats said.
It wasn’t just his family that was excited to see him. Strangers came over to give their well wishes and thank him too.
Tammy’s husband, Brian’s stepdad, is also currently serving in Afghanistan. The family says he should be back in January of 2015.
Both he and Brian are engineers for the Army.