As Erika Benning raised her hand to be sworn in as a police officer with the Irving Police department on Jan. 30, her son, Army Sgt. Giovanni Pando, appeared from behind a closed door. She broke down in tears as she embraced him, speechless.
Benning hasn’t seen her son in two years as he has been stationed in Germany, according to CNN.
After taking a few moments to process their emotions, Pando did the honor of pinning his mom’s badge to her uniform, officially welcoming her to the police force.
“When my son came around the corner and I realized that this was real, my breathing just started to slow down, and everything just felt really tight,” Benning told CNN. “I just didn’t want to pass out because I wanted to enjoy every moment of it.”
Benning wanted to be a police officer since she was very young. However, the birth of her son was the main reason she waited to join the force.
“He’s the reason why I breathe every single day. He’s the reason why I wake up every morning. He’s my world,” Benning told CNN.
Now that Pando is grown up and serving abroad, Benning, who is an immigrant from Honduras, was finally able to make her career goals come true. The only thing missing once she finished training at the academy was for her son to be present at the ceremony, Fox4 reported.
It took months of planning, but Pando managed to pull off the ultimate surprise. Benning’s husband and her police chief both conspired with Pando to make sure the ceremony went off without a hitch.
“All swearing-in ceremonies are special but every once in a while one tugs at your heart strings a little more than others," reads a Facebook post from the police station.
“It’s just something I wanted to do,” Pando said. “I wanted to be there for her,” Pando told NBCDFW.
When he separates from the Army, Pando told reporters that he intends to follow in his mother’s footsteps and join the police force too.
Olivia is a reporting Intern for Military Times, and a junior Communication student at George Mason University.