Senior surprised by brother in emotional reunion


photo or infographic by Ashleigh Scott

ALL THE FEELS. During lunch senior Kayman Hatthorn is surprised by his Michael Mays. Mays returned from the Air Force and came to the school to surprise Hatthorn before doing anything else.

 The videos go viral for a reason. Tears of joy fall down his face as he hugs the man in a camouflage uniform. Students and administration fill the cafeteria with cheers. Likes and retweets cover social media pages around the community sharing this touching moment. 

Senior Kayman Hatthorn and his brother, Michael Mays, got to create their own tear-jerking video on Jan 7th. Mays arrived home from his Air Force base in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time in a year and a half. This is a memory that Hatthorn will never forget. 

“It feels great being able to see him,” Hatthorn said. “It was very emotional for the both of us.”  

There is nothing like being able to hug a childhood role model. Hatthorn got the chance to reconnect with the person who inspired him to go into the medical field in the military.

“My brother inspires me so being able to see him just made it even more special,” Hatthorn said. “He is the reason I want to go into the military.”

Christmas came late for Mays. He got to start off the year with the best present, being able to come home and see his family.

“I was so glad that I got to see him,” Mays said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome home gift.”

Mays is proud he inspired his brother’s future plans.

“I’m very proud of him for wanting to go into the military,” Mays said. “He is not just following in my footsteps, but also creating his own.” 

Some administrators helped make this impactful moment become a reality. They want to help remind students that it is important to realize life isn’t just about the textbooks on desks. 

“Sometimes in school, we forget that everyone has a personal life,” assistant principal John Patterson said. “That is why we need to be reminded about the joys that go on in and out of school.” 

Happiness and relief fill not only the Hatthorn household, but also families who look forward to seeing their soldiers come home. Knowing that loved ones are safe and healthy is one of the best feelings. 

“For most families that have loved ones who are deployed or on active duty, they are constantly worrying about their family members,” Patterson said. “It’s an ultimate kind of joy and love knowing that the ones you love are safe and healthy.” 

The world is filled with negativity from the news and media, but a little positivity can go a long way. The lunch surprise moves students to recognize that there are still good things happening around them. 

“It was such a touchy moment,” instructional coach Ashleigh Scott said. “You can feel the emotion, even other students were moved by the reunion.”  

Scott posted a picture of the reunion on Twitter. She wanted to share the story with as many people as possible.

“I think it was really important for the kids to realize that Michael is only a couple years older than them,” Scott said. “It shows that no matter where they are in their own lives they can still make an impact in someone else’s.”