The Richter family had prepped their truck with everything they could potentially need to have one amazing weekend vacation, and everyone was looking forward to it. But they had no idea their trip was going to take a mortifying turn for the worst when they discovered something lurking in their truck.
They Wanted to Document Their Trip
Spring break had arrived, and the Richter family was looking forward to the ultimate vacation. Everyone was always so busy, especially the kids, who preferred hanging with their friends most of the time. But now they were all together and were looking forward to documenting their trip with lots of selfies.
But one photo held a mystery that left them completely speechless. But what was going on and where they in danger?
The Richters Were a Tight-Knit Bunch
In March 2017, Erik Richter, the serial selfie-taker, and his wife Amber decided to go on a road trip with their three daughters. In spite of the fact that everyone loved doing their own things, they enjoyed spending time together. But there was something hidden in their car, waiting patiently for the right moment to strike.
They Were All Set for Their Trip
The Richters had a common love for great adventures. So, they planned where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do and packed their bags. But their trip was about to take a dramatic twist that would leave them scrambling to catch their breath.
The Siblings Got in a Tiff
The Richter sisters started arguing over their seating arrangements in the truck before their dad drove out of the driveway. This forced the grown-ups to decide for them and soon everything was under control…or so they thought.
They Went Looking for Snacks
Going on a trip with the kids cramped in the backseat wasn’t easy. The Richters weren’t about to add fuel to the fire by having them starve. So, they started talking about snacks, which left their mouths watering.
This also put everyone in a better mood, so dad decided it was time to drive off, but that’s when something extraordinary happened.
Dad Stopped for a Selfie
A mile into their trip, Richter stopped the truck and everyone was wondering what was happening. Then he took out his phone and told everyone to huddle together and smile, so everyone obliged and gave him their best smile. But when dad snapped a photo of their precious moment, he didn’t realize something was awry.
The Selfie Was for His Son
Richter wasn’t just taking photos to savor the moment. He wanted to turn several photos into a scrapbook and send it to his son. The book would also have tickets and little mementos related to the family trip.
The sisters put their petty differences aside and smiled because they knew it would make their brother happy. But this wasn’t the only photo dad took.
Dad Make a Big Mistake
Richter wanted to take a bunch of candid photos, especially the kind the family wasn’t ready for. But the girls were self-conscious and looked through their dad’s phone. They knew full well that a bad photo on social media could end their social lives.
But then they noticed that their dad had taken a video by mistake, only it wasn’t a mistake.
It Was a Hilarious Blunder
The girls immediately pointed the mistake to their dad and laughed, so he played along and joined in on the laughter. Then the girls handed the phone back to him and he continued filming. But there was a mysterious figure lurking in the back of their truck that they didn’t notice until it was too late.
Who’s the Stowaway?
Halfway through their laughing fit, the teenagers realized that there was someone else in the phone’s screen. It was a man wearing a hoodie, but they couldn’t make out who it was on the smartphone. Then they turned around and screamed.
But luckily, they weren’t screams of horror.
They Knew the Stranger
Everyone was screaming from the shock, even mom, which quickly turned into joy once the initial shock passed. The hooded stranger wasn’t a thief. It was someone they loved very much.
As it turns out, the intruder was the sisters’ brother. But they still couldn’t believe he was actually in the truck.
He Crawled Into the Back Seat
The Richters would have never left their son, Rowan, behind on purpose. They knew he couldn’t join them on their spring break trip because he was busy. Then Rowan crawled his way into the back seat and said, “Hey, guys,” as if nothing unusual had happened.
So where did he come from and why was he lurking in the back?
Mom Broke Her Silence
Everyone was pretty speechless. Then mom broke the silence and said, “Oh my god, you scared the hell out of me!” She was so happy to see her son that she was practically shaking in her seat. Had the sudden shock triggered an anxiety attack?
They Welcomed Him With Open Arms
The sisters were so happy to see Rowan that they started hugging and kissing him. But mom needed a moment, so she opened the door and stepped outside to regain her composure. It had been a while since they’d seen him and realized that he must have had help surprising the family the way he did.
Did Rowan Have an Accomplice?
Mom wondered how her son had managed to sneak into the back of the truck without anyone noticing. She suspected her husband had something to do with it, but he was also surprised just like everybody else. She decided to ask him anyway, so she could put her mind at ease.
Of Course, Dad Was the Mastermind
Richter couldn’t keep a straight face when his wife asked him to tell her the truth. His smile gave him right away. It turns out that he had picked Rowan up from the airport when his plane landed in Oregon.
His wife jokingly shouted, “You’re Evil!” when she learned he was involved.
Rowan Had Crashed Their Spring Break
Once Rowan had officially greeted his sisters, he hopped onto the front seat and gave his mom a big hug. Then everyone got excited after realizing that he would be spending spring break with them. It was a thought that brought everyone great joy.
He Uploaded the Reunion on YouTube
Richter’s smartphone captured every moment of the touching reunion, which he later uploaded on YouTube. He didn’t think people would assume it was such a big deal, but then the video went viral and the whole world started watching.
The Reunion Went Viral
The video Richter posted online hit 90,000 views in only a few hours. The family couldn’t believe that their mini-reunion had warmed so many hearts. People from all over the world left positive comments about the family’s powerful bond.
The views eventually reached over 2.7 million views, but it wasn’t a five minutes of fame situation.
They Loved the Richters’ Reaction
Two years later, the amount of loving comments from people continued to pour in from different parts of the world. One comment read: “Don’t know what I liked better, Mom’s extreme reaction or the love in Dad’s non-stop smile! It’s a tie!”
The Emotions Were Contagious
YouTubers weren’t the only ones to comment on the video. One Facebook user wrote: “There were lots of emotion [and] hugs. [It] will always be one of my most favorite memories, nothing can compare to the love of family.” The video made everyone see how much the family had missed Rowan.
But the prank wasn’t over.
They Had One More Person to Surprise
Now that everyone in the truck knew, it was time to surprise one person who wasn’t with them. It was Rowan’s grandmother, who hadn’t seen him in a long time either and had no idea he was home from the Navy. The Richters decided to take a slight detour to grandmother’s house to film the ultimate follow up to their original video, but first they had to see if she was home.
Grandma Never Saw It Coming
Richter called her to tell her that they were coming over for a visit, but they didn’t tell her Rowan was with them. Once she told them she’d be waiting for them, they drove towards her house. They couldn’t wait to capture the look on her face when she saw Rowan.
They Lulled Grandma Into a Sense of Normalcy
When they arrived, they hugged grandma and even sat down to have a meal and some drinks. After an hour or so, they got ready to leave, but first, Richter asked everyone to go into another room so he could show them something. That’s when Rowan surprised his grandmother from behind.
Grandma Got the Shock of Her Life
Grandma was suspicious, much like her granddaughters had been in the truck. She could sense that someone was behind her. But when she turned, she screamed with confusion, which quickly turned into utter happiness.
Shock Turned Into Tears of Joy
The shock could have made her heart stop but she didn’t care. She was so happy to see her grandson, Rowan. She gave him a big hug and said, “Shame on you!” for surprising her in such a way.
He Always Wanted to be a Soldier
Rowan knew that being in the military was in his future. As a child, he would make forts and played military battles with his sisters. Of course, his grandmother had no issues with him serving.
She was actually quite proud of him for following his dreams and so was the rest of his family. But that didn’t mean she didn’t wish he could stay at home.
His Time Was Extremely Limited
Grandma did her best to get everyone to stay, but Rowan only had a short break and the family had to get underway to enjoy the rest of their spring vacation with him. Once it was over, he would have to rejoin the United States Navy.
Grandma gave Rowan a kiss on the forehead because she wasn’t sure how long it would be before she would see him again. The Richters sympathized with grandma. They also had a small amount of time to spend with him and were grateful that he had set aside some precious time to spend with them.
It Was the Ultimate Homecoming
Everyone was thrilled by Rowan’s presence. Tears flowed as they giggled and asked him a ton of questions. It was the ultimate homecoming with a spring break trip on the side.
Although their time was brief, they were proud that their boy, Lance Corporal Rowan Richter, was alive and well, and ready for some laughs, hugs, and selfies with the family.
Family Moments Were Rare
Rowan was determined to be the best soldier the Navy had, which left him little room to spend with his family. Fortunately, his dad, Richter, had recorded everything on camera, so they could view it any time they liked until Rowan was able to see them again.