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


This embed is invalid

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.

This embed is invalid

"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.

Next Up

Zach Parise

Ghosts of Wild's past force split with Sharks

Brent Burns and Ryan Donato thwarted a comeback attempt by the Wild.

Avante Dickerson

Top-ranked recruit Avante Dickerson decommits from Gopher football

The four-star cornerback was the highest-rated recruit in Minnesota's 2021 class.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Limits on in-person court activity extended for 45 days

The statewide order extends current limitations through March 15.

D'Angelo Russell / Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves need more from D'Angelo Russell

The Wolves haven't gotten what they expected since making a blockbuster trade.

oct. 20 snow crash

Spinouts, crashes still happening after snow leaves MN roads a mess

The snow storm caused at least 208 crashes this weekend.


For The Week: Food tips and tricks to get you through the next 7 days

BMTN's food writer Lindsay Guentzel makes life easier for Minnesotans.

snow, plow

Here's how much snow fell in Saturday's storm in Minnesota

MSP Airport had the highest total as of 7 a.m. Sunday with 5.3 inches.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 7.53.44 PM

Spinouts, crashes across Twin Cities as snow gets heavier

There have been multiple incidents across the metro area.

Mason Branstrator

Family, friends raising funds for teen soccer standout with spinal injury

Mason Branstrator of Duluth was injured in a skiing accident.


Soldier surprises family at Vikings game

In the third quarter, the Vikings and the Minnesota National Guard helped Staff Sgt. Matthew Helget surprise his family in front of 50,000 fans. Helget has been stationed in Kuwait for six months.