TEMECULA, Calif. -- With a blue bow-tie and a glitter dress to match, Madison Sherman's face did not match her festive attire when she sat on Santa's lap at the Promenade Temecula for a holiday photo.
Her eyes downcast and her shoulders hunched, the 6-year-old only had one request from Father Christmas that Saturday.
She wanted her dad to come home. A Seabee in the U.S. Navy deployed in Afghanistan for the past six months, Madison's father wasn't due back until the end of the month, she was told, but a girl could ask. After all, it was Christmas.
As Madison revealed her one wish to Santa, a man in military fatigues stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.
It was him. Madison's father Ron Sherman appeared before her on bended knee.
"What the...?" she exclaimed, a mixture of shock and joy propelling her into her father's arms. Cheers and applause broke out.
Ron Sherman's other daughter, 20-year-old Jordan Sherman, wept tears of joy as the entire family embraced.
Wife Angela, who was in on the entire surprise, called the reunion "incredible."
"It's a miracle," said Madison, arms around her father, eyes cast to the heavens.
US Navy Seabee surprises daughter while she asks mall Santa for his return from Afghanistan