The Philadelphia Flyers surprised many families by dressing up a soldier inside of a life-size GI Joe action figure box. The Flyers then wrapped him up like a Christmas gift and presented as a gift to their families.
It was one of the most epic surprises of all-time on Thursday night. It quickly became a stadium and arena staple at pro and college games alike, the act of bringing out the family of a soldier believed to be overseas under a false pretense before the military member emerges truly is one of the more heartwarming occurrences at sporting events.
However, this GI Joe package, presented by the Philadelphia Flyers, really pulled out all the stops with this one.
Army PFC. Matthew Windish was believed to be overseas serving in Korea and was not expected home until next Friday for the holidays. His parents, Joann and Mark, were invited to attend the GI Joe game at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday for what they believed was to view a message from their son on the Jumbotron.
Late in the second period, the Windishes were escorted down the tunnel, so they could get a better look at the Jumbotron. Instead, the two were presented with a large wrapped gift. Underneath the wrapping paper was their son in a life-sized GI Joe box. And that’s when the parents received a welcome and emotionally uplifting holiday surprise.
“I was surprised,” Joann said. “First I thought he was coming home, but then I didn’t think he was going to. I just thought it was going to be a video, but when they opened up that box and I saw his face … we have missed him so much this past year. It was an awesome surprise.”