Capt. Mario Lopes, a Washington D.C.-based pilot with United Airlines, learned that his son, First Lt. Mario Lopes, was scheduled to return from Kuwait on April 14. When Lopes learned that there was an opportunity to pilot a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, on the same day, he knew he had to seize it.
"I told my wife that this couldn't be a coincidence," Lopes said. "No one could confirm or deny if he would actually be a passenger on my aircraft, but I knew I had to take the chance and find out."
When the day of the flight came, Lopes briefed the crew about his plan to surprise his son and asked for their help in distracting him.
"I gave my lead flight attendant Audrey a bag of Mario's favorite cookies to distract him while I tried to sneak onboard," Lopes told ABC News.