Video of Wichita Navy Reservist Surprising His Son Goes Viral

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

Life: The movie.

In this case, on a sunny May day in Wichita, a grassy lawn became the set for a scene from Star Wars. The scene would be acted out at Aiden Whyte's fifth birthday party.

A very young Luke Skywalker, Aiden, battled a not-so mysterious Darth Vader.

"He thought his older cousin was Darth Vader," Susie Whyte said.

Princess Leia was played by his sister, Emily Whyte. Meanwhile, his mother, Susie Whyte, was rolling the camera with just one take to get it right.

"We had to kind of coax him," Susie Whyte said.

Despite some variations from the original movie, including Aiden launching his light saber at the attacking Darth Vader, the story line held true.

The scene reached a similarly big reveal but with a very personal twist.

"It was my daddy!" Aiden Whyte said.

The costumed Darth Vader was Aiden's father. The same dad Aiden was convinced was hundred of miles away training in California. The dad who is a Wichita police officer and navy reservist who wanted to squeeze in a few hours with his kids and wife, part of his 96-hour leave, before his deployment to the Middle East.

That's where he spoke to KAKE News from via Skype on Monday.

"It still takes my breath away," Justin Whyte said about the video.

The video was shot in May. But just when they thought it was over, that the credits had rolled, it was Justin and Susie's turn to be surprised.

"I'm kind of shocked at this video," Justin Whyte said.

Susie had uploaded the video to YouTube but had kept it "private." That was until about a week ago when she uploaded it to a website called WelcomeHomeBlog.Com. The website celebrates amazing homecoming reunions with service members and their families.

It went viral.

"I can't believe how many people have watched it," Susie Whyte said.

Within eight days, it's been viewed more than 256,000 times by people all over the world.

"We had Good Morning America call, we had emails from CNN," Susie Whyte said. "The video was on Inside Edition on Friday."

Justin who still has a few weeks left in the Middle East says the global response to the video means the world.

"A lot of times, at least on our end, you feel you aren't appreciated, but obviously we are," Justin Whyte said.

It's more evidence he and his fellow service members are appreciated by people around the globe.

But most importantly, with the video as an example, Justin is appreciated by his favorite cast of characters: Susie, Emily, and Aiden.

"It's important to me for them to know, yea, I'll be coming home," Justin Whyte said.

Whyte says he expects to return home to Wichita from the Middle East next month.

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