On Saturday, Rob Grimmett was set to receive his diploma during the Unviersity of Hawaii's commencement exercises without his father cheering him on from inside the Stan Sheriff Center.
Serving in the U.S. Air Force, Major Robert Grimmett was serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan and would be unable to make it home in time to see his son celebrate.
That's what he told his family, anyway.
"Alright, just arrived in from Afghnistan last night, thanks to the fortune of having beautiful friends and family to help me surprise my son as he graduates from the University," Maj. Grimmett said in the car on the way to Manoa. "No one knows, so hopefully this goes off pretty well."
Being able to communicate with his unknowing wife via iMessage, which works in Afghanistan via an internet connection, Maj. Grimmett knew that his family had entered the arena early to find seats. When he arrived, he headed to Dole Street to find a few lei, then made his way to the arena.
Once the ceremony started, Maj. Grimmett snuck into the Stan Sheriff Center, then slowly worked his way to an area above where his family was seated. He hid, with the help of other people in the crowd, as Daniel Dae Kim gave the commencement speech and the graduation ceremony continued.
Once it was Rob's turn to receive his diploma, Maj. Grimmett stood, several rows behind his wife, daughter, sister and mother, and used two items familiar to his family--a cowbell and a three-toned whistle, both which have distinctive sounds--to let them know that he had made it in time.
"It's Dad!" his daughter can be seen saying on tape.
Diploma in hand, Rob hops over the barricades, bounds up the steps and reunites with his dad, completing the surprise and creating a moment that the Grimmett family will never forget.