Local

Bullard grad gets the surprise of her life

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It was a special occasion for a high school senior who graduated Tuesday afternoon. But that special moment wasn't about getting her diploma, but rather who handed it to her.

Proud parents in the stands of the Save Mart Center cheered on more than 500 Bullard High School graduates. But one parent had to cheer from behind the scenes.

"She doesn't know that I'm here. She just thinks people are taking pictures for me," said PFC. Phoebe Aburto.

Aburto secretly flew across the country from Fort Lee Virginia -- where she's been in training for the past six months -- all to surprise her daughter.

"She was disappointed that I wasn't going to make it and I had to go through so many chains of commands just to get the final decision," said Aburto.

Phoebe jumped on a plane once given the okay but her flight was delayed due to a bomb scare.

Still, she managed to get on a different flight and arrived just in time to hear her daughter's name, Olivia Smith, be announced.

But the surprise wasn't revealed just yet. After the ceremony, graduates went to receive their official diplomas. And who better to hand Olivia hers than her mother. The reunion was every bit emotional as one could imagine.

"I thought she was in Virginia because she said she couldn't come and she called me yesterday," said daughter Olivia Smith.

Olivia was stunned to see her mom. "I miss my mom. I didn't think she could come and now my friends are crying," said Olivia.

One of the best kept secrets in the family - even Phoebe's two younger daughters were surprised to see her at all.

"There was no way I was going to miss that, even if I had to come here and be here for an hour, I was going to be here," said Phoebe.

And Pheobe's trip was just that short. After the ceremony, she had to catch a flight and head back to Fort Lee.

She will be training out there for another month before returning home.

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