BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Friday morning was April Yakubchak’s first day off in a long time, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t busy. With Thanksgiving around the corner and her daughter’s birthday party approaching, April was hard at work, making food and preparing for two celebrations.
Usually, April would be the one to answer the front door. But not this morning, not with so much to do, Then, at around 9:30 a.m., April heard a knock at the door. Her daughter opened it, causing April to see who it could be. The sight knocked her to her knees and sent a shriek out of her mouth, one that wouldn’t cease for a while.
A son with a plan
In August of 2016, Austin Yakubchak joined the Air Force and headed to a base in Florida. Seven months ago he was assigned to a mission and departed for Africa. Contact with his family was limited.
Austin and his mom April are extremely close, April said. She knows everything about him — or at least she thinks she does. Pulling a fast one on his mom wouldn’t come easy, but Austin concocted a plan. He knew he was heading home on leave for Thanksgiving, so he decided he would surprise his mom.
On Thursday, he arrived in Oregon and stayed the night at a friend’s house. Then, on Friday morning, he got dressed in full uniform and started walking to his house. When he got to the door he put one hand over the peephole and knocked. His sister answered the door. He immediately put his fingers to his mouth, hoping his sister would keep quiet. She held true. Then, he made eye contact with his mom.
A mom who never thought it could be her
Having a son overseas in the military isn’t easy for any mom. April is no different. She missed Austin terribly. Sometimes, in order to counter the sadness, she’d turn to the Internet and find a video of a soldier coming home to surprise their family members.
“I’d cry every time I watched them, never thinking that would be me,” April said. “I would watch them all the time, especially on the days I missed him the most — which was all the time.”
On Thursday, April’s daughter returned home from first grade with a folder of letters. With Veterans Day approaching, the first grade class talked a lot about their family members who have served or were currently serving. In the folder were letters from the entire class written for Austin. On Thursday night, instead of watching her normal go-to videos, April read the letters, easing the pain of a son who had been gone for too long.
Little did she know that her son was down the street at a friends house.
A reunion worth going nuts over
At first, when Austin locked eyes with his mom, he thought there was no way she’d be able to hold onto the food. April immediately started screaming at the sight of her son walking through her door, but before she could start jumping up and down, she placed the food on the counter.
“I was pretty sure she was going to throw the food at me,” Austin said.
“She flipped out. She just went nuts.”
April, overwhelmed with emotions, dropped to her knees. Austin slowly approached and then lowered himself, meeting his mother halfway. They hugged and her glasses fell off. Then they stood up and April, without her glasses, asked something because she couldn’t believe what she was seeing: “Really?”
April will be the first to tell you Austin isn’t normally one to keep secrets. They had talked in the days leading up to Friday and April had asked her son question after question about when he could possibly be coming home, making it even harder on poor Austin not to tell his mom. But he didn’t budge, and the moment was well worth it.
“I’d say he pulled it off pretty good,” April said.
Watch the full moment below.