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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -
Here is a story that shows sometimes, Christmas wishes do come true. It happened to a young student in D'Iberville.
Five-year-old Claudia Coats has not seen her daddy in more than seven months. That's because he's been on deployment overseas. On Monday, Claudia and her daddy had a very emotional reunion, with a little help from Old St. Nick.
"Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas," Santa shouted as he entered the school library.
"Santa!" the children exclaimed.
Their eyes lit up as Santa dropped in to visit all the good children at D'Iberville Elementary School.
"And what do you want for Christmas?" Santa asked the children.
"I want a toy dinosaur that's green and has a remote control," Claudia responded with delight.
Claudia also had a secret wish, to have her daddy home for Christmas.
"Everybody, close your eyes. Think about what you want the most," Santa told the class of kindergartners.
Santa said if you wish hard enough, that wish just might appear right before your very eyes.
"Well Claudia, what do you think about this present?" Santa asked.
At that moment, Claudia opened her eyes, and saw her daddy walking into the room.
"Daddy!" she exclaimed.
The surprised kindergartner jumped into her daddy's arms and clung to him tightly.
"Hi there! Oh, how are you?" her dad asked. "I love you kiddo."
"I love you, too," Claudia responded.
Master Sergeant Kris Coats has been on deployment in southwest Asia since May. He wasn't supposed to come home until next summer.
"It's my first time away from them for an extended period of time. I wanted to make it special," said Coats.
Coats requested leave so he could spend Christmas with his wife and two daughters.
"I knew that they had been missing him a lot. I knew they would be excited and happy tears," said his wife Cathy Coats.
Coats actually came home late Sunday night.
"Luckily, we got some great neighbors. They kept them over the night so Cathy and I could get out in the morning without being caught," said Coats.
"I looked up and I saw dad come in through the door, and so I just dropped everything and I ran. It was a definite surprise," said his ten year old daughter Anna Coats.
Anna is a fifth grader at D'Iberville Middle School.
"It surprised me so. I'm so happy to see him," said Claudia.
Daddy and daughter have a lot of catching up to do. When asked what she looks forward to doing with her daddy, Claudia replied, "Playing stuff with him, like tic-tac-toe."
Before they headed home, the family gathered for a photo with Santa. It was a portrait of love you just can't wrap-up and put under the tree.
"They're my life and daddy's girls. And hopefully, they'll remember this and treasure it, because I know I'm going to," said Coats.
The family just wants to spend some quality time together before Coats heads back to Asia. One project is decorating the Christmas tree.
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