South Jersey teacher gets surprise of lifetime from soldier son

"I miss his hugs. He's always a good hugger," said Susan Keller, who is a teacher at Lake Tract Elementary School.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, November 18, 2021
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"I miss his hugs." A South Jersey teacher got the ultimate surprise from her son on Wednesday.

DEPTFORD TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- A Gloucester County, New Jersey teacher got the ultimate surprise Wednesday when her son stopped by her school.

"What are you doing here?" Susan Keller asked when her son, US Army First Lieutenant Alex Keller, appeared.

Keller, a special education teacher at Lake Tract Elementary School, had been with the student body outside, attending what she thought was an assembly.

A group of students carrying American flags led Lt. Keller through the building and out to his mom to a large applause from everyone.

"I told her that I wasn't coming home until February," Lt. Keller explained. "So I called the principal here and I was like, 'Hey, I'm trying to surprise my mom, will that work out? And she said, 'Absolutely!'"

The mother and son had not seen each other since 2019.

"So I lived in Utah and I lived in Arizona and then I was deploying, so I wasn't able to see her at all," Lt. Keller said.

The move, coupled with the deployment and the pandemic, made travel difficult.

"I miss his hugs. He's always a good hugger," Keller said. "I am so excited. I'm just shocked. I don't have words for it but I'm so happy to see him."

Lt. Keller has only three days at home before he has to ship out again, but both he and his mom agree it's worth it to be able to spend some time together.

"It's been hard and having him away has been hard. I'm just glad he's home safe," she said.

"She's really proud of me and I just appreciate her being supportive and I think she's the best mom in the world," he said.