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Video: Soldier surprises family at Mall of America after early return from service

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A log flume ride at Nickelodeon Universe ended with more than one shock for the Johnson family.

Seconds after they got a soaking from the final plunge, they were met by Staff Sergeant Christopher Johnson – father to 10-year-old Kaitlyn and 7-year-old Jake, boyfriend to Danielle Sonsteby and son to Betty Johnson, KSTP reports.

They hadn't seen the airman for six months, but was able to travel back to Minnesota a few weeks earlier than expected, and arranged a surprise homecoming with the help of the Mall of America.

Jake was teary-eyed when he saw his father, most likely through a combination of joy at seeing him again, and terror at being on the front of the log flume.

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"Couldn't wait to come home and see them. They mean everything to me," SSgt Johnson told KARE 11.

The news station reports that the family have been provided with a getaway weekend by the Bloomington megamall, to thank Johnson for his service.

The scenes at the mall proved emotional as the family was reunited once more, with his mother telling KSTP: "God blessed me greatly today. I need him to be home. It was time. I can't explain how happy I am and how proud of him I am."

Johnson went straight to the mall after touching down at Minneapolis-St. Paul International. He told the Star Tribune he had missed both his kids' birthdays as he spent the last several months serving in the Middle East.

"I'm home for good now," he added.

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