Soldier suprises family with homecoming at Lake Linda’s Christmas light show


HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — What’s better than spending an evening at a Christmas light show with your family? How about having your military son surprise you while at the Christmas light show with your family? That’s what happened at Lake Linda’s Lights Sunday night in Hampstead.

While it looked like a normal night at the Hampstead home all lit up for the holidays, Christian Kittrell had something up his sleeve.

“Courtney, my little sister, I’ll say that cause I consider her that threw this plan out about a week ago,” Kittrell said. “Courtney was more the event planner.”

Kittrell has been away from his friends and the people he calls his family at basic training in the Army National Guard for the last three months.

“I kept telling my mom, ‘He’s not coming home until February,” Courtney Hayes said. “She’s like ‘no I have a feeling he’s coming home.'”

Courtney had a plan, telling her mom anything she had to to keep the secret.

“She was getting all kinds of antsy,” Courtney said. “She knew I had something up my sleeve, but I tried to cover it up with lies.”

The owners of Lake Linda’s Lights called in a favor from the Grinch, or maybe the Grinch is getting them to do him a favor.

As Kittrell’s family followed the Grinch through the lights, the Grinch asked them to help him steal a present.

Dot McCarroll lifted up the present and was surprised to see Kittrell there in person.

McCarroll, the woman Kittrell considers an adopted mom, says she had no idea what was going to happen.

“She told me, ‘Oh we are going to a military show at Lake Linda’s,'” McCarroll said. She says it has been difficult without Kittrell at home.

Kittrell’s dad, Eddie McCarroll, was also very surprised.

“I’m just glad to see him home and thank God he is home,” Eddie said.

No gifts were stolen that festive night. In fact, the Grinch helped give them the best gift of all. It was a present that took a lot of planning for Kittrell’s sister, but Courtney says it’s now time to celebrate.

“We go home and celebrate his homecoming,” Courtney said. “We celebrate him fighting off for us. Just celebrate him coming home and be one happy family.”

His homecoming is a very gift special gift that they say not everyone will get to experience this year.

“I want to say I’m sorry to everyone who doesn’t have their families right now, but hang in there and they will come home soon, and like he said I’m thankful for all of the military fighting right now,” Courtney said.

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