ST. CHARLES, Ill. (WLS) -- Lieutenant Colonel Rob Gerlach has been serving our country in Kuwait for 10 months while his wife Elizabeth cares for their 6-year-old children, Eva and Colin.
Friday, Elizabeth thought Sears was delivering a grill to their family as a present for Rob's service but she got something much better.
"We made a trip to the store and we'll get hamburgers and hot dogs, hamburger buns and hot dog buns, so I was like we'll just grill out tonight," Elizabeth said.
Rob told his wife and kids he would be back the first week of June.
"I was on the phone with my wife 2 hours ago telling her I was out processing in Texas, and I was in a vehicle on my way to surprise her," Rob said.
But the surprise didn't stop there. The parents then went to Munhall Elementary School where Eva and Colin's class was getting a magic show during assembly.
"It was tough because I've been watching them grow up via FaceTime," Rob said after seeing his kids for the first time since last July.
Colin has been crossing off the days on his calendar at home, counting down to dad's homecoming.
"I was sad and I wanted him to come home, and I thought it was going to be more days for him to come home but the magician made daddy appear," Colin said.
While they won't be having burgers on the grill tonight, Rob said he will be getting his wife her grill soon.
St. Charles military dad disguised as grill comes home early, surprises wife, kids