A soldier from Meriden gave his mother a big surprise this Independence Day.
Pvt. Toby Hollman wasn’t expected home until April 2015. But much to the shock and delight of his mother Su, he served her water when she was out to an Independence Day dinner at Outback in North Haven.
“It just took me a second to realize that he was actually standing in front of me,” Su Hollman said.
He pulled it off with the help of family members and restaurant staff. Dinner was supposed to be a girls night out for Su and her daughter. That was the first sign for Su that something was up.
"Girls night out with my daughter, you have to understand that it's usually a surprise,” Su explained. But Su wasn’t prepared to see her son, who was supposed to be two thousand miles away. “I knew something was up, but I didn’t expect him at all,” she added.
Toby’s brother Noah Hollman was also surprised by his brother’s appearance.
“I didn’t think it was real at all,” Noah said. “I thought they were just messing with me.”
The reunion will be short - Toby heads back on Sunday for another 10 months of training to be a nursing specialist. But he says surprising his mom was well worth it.
“She’s always been there for me for everything,” he said. “She’s probably one of the biggest influences in my life.”