SAN ANTONIO – Less than one minute is all it took for one San Antonio girl to steal the hearts of many after she was seen in a viral video reacting to a birthday build-a-bear present that was dressed like her dad in Army fatigues.
However, it was her reaction to hearing her dad’s voice from the bear that left many crying tears of joy and a warm heart.
READ THE ORIGINAL STORY ONLY ON KSAT.COM: ‘Oh my god, its daddy': Birthday surprise from SA dad in Army goes viral
“Hey baby, Daddy loves you and misses you so, so much and I can’t wait for you to be in my arms again. I love you very much,” David Villegas said in a recorded message to his daughter.
Before hugging the bear tightly, Ellianna screams, “Oh my God, its Daddy!”
The video was sent in a tweet and had received well over 100,000 retweets and likes on Twitter before being deleted.
After receiving much nationwide attention, Ellianna, 5, and her mother Vanessa Villegas traveled to California for an unexpected appearance on "The Ellen Show" that aired Wednesday afternoon.
“We set up some hidden cameras backstage right now and we’re looking Elli and her mother Vanessa. They have no idea they’re going to be our next guests,” TV host Ellen DeGeneres said on the show.
This 5-year-old girl got a big surprise from her dad who’s cur...
This 5-year-old girl got a big surprise from her dad who’s currently serving in the military, and you have to see it.Posted by Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday, November 1, 2017
DeGeneres then appeared on a television in front of the San Antonio family only to welcome them to the stage after showing the audience the heartwarming moment.
“Why did you give her (Ellianna) that little bear?,” DeGeneres asked her mother Vanessa.
“Well, he (David Villegas) joined the military and they’re best friends and he’s never spent a day away from her. So, he knew he wasn’t going to be her (fifth) birthday,” Villegas told DeGeneres. “So, that way she can feel that he’s really here.”
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Villegas said the only form of communication with her husband is by way of letters, since he’s away for Army basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“So, you send letters and he can’t be here, obviously as we know but we thought that we would maybe be able to talk him right now,” DeGeneres said.
Villegas then makes his appearance to his family on "The Ellen Show" and the reaction from both his wife and daughter are priceless.
DeGeneres then presented the Villegas family a $25,000 check from Shutterfly as a token of Villegas’ commitment not only to the military but also to his family.
“We want to do something for you because I know one of the reasons David went to basic training is because there was a lot of debt. And so he went in the Army so you don’t have to struggle anymore,” DeGeneres said.
If that wasn’t enough for the local family, DeGeneres also had a special gift for their daughter.
“And because we missed your birthday and I know you wanted an American Girl doll … is that right, Elli?,” DeGeneres said. “Look what we got for you!”
To watch the moment when the Villegas family appeared on "The Ellen Show", click the video below.