Share in the joy of this dad's surprise reunion with his toddler son.

Watch Scarlyn and her son Liam's unique story, and scroll down to see how this life-changing trip came to life.

Scarlyn Cabral loves surprises. She just can't keep them to herself.

After spoiling a cousin's surprise baby shower, she's no longer trusted with family secrets.


"They don't tell me about surprises anymore," Scarlyn said with a laugh. "They used to invite me to the party, but now only after it's planned and like one day before."

So when Scarlyn won a trip from a Delta Air Lines contest to the Dominican Republic to see her son's father, Jean, she didn't think she'd be able to keep the good news to herself. Lucky for Jean (and all of us), she pulled it off perfectly.

Scarlyn, Jean, and their son, Liam. Photo courtesy of Scarlyn Cabral, used with permission.

Scarlyn and Jean's story began in an unexpected place, a call center in the Dominican Republic.

Scarlyn was on a long vacation to the Dominican Republic and decided to get a job. She found one at a call center and Jean was her supervisor. Their friendship quickly grew and the two started dating. A few months later, Scarlyn discovered she was pregnant.

Photo by iStock.

When she was six months pregnant, the pair decided Scarlyn should join her family in New York City.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

While opportunities for Scarlyn and her unborn son were much greater in New York, Scarlyn was devastated to leave Jean behind.

"It was really scary, having to come [back to New York] by myself," Scarlyn said. "I felt bad because I wasn't going to have him here for the birth... It was scary."

Their son Liam was born a few months later.

Photo by Scarlyn Cabral, used with permission.

Like many new moms, Scarlyn's priorities have changed since she became a parent

"I don't really think about myself anymore," she said. "Before, I used to make decisions like 'OK, I'm changing my major. I'm going on vacation.'... But after I became a mom, all I think about is Liam. ... What's better for him."

Image via Delta/YouTube.

While her romance with Jean fizzled shortly after Liam was born, Scarlyn made a commitment to continue communication for Liam.

They're a new kind of modern family. Scarlyn and Jean have a strong friendship based on trust and respect.

While Scarlyn is the full-time parent, she doesn't let distance stand in the way of Jean knowing his son. She uses emails, texts, and video calls to stay connected and familiarize Liam, who just turned 1, with his dad and other relatives.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

Though Jean receives photos and calls from Liam often, the distance is not for the fainthearted.

"When you lose something that fills you up completely, everything becomes empty," Jean told Delta. "It's something that sometimes you try to fill with work, keeping busy. But on the contrary, it goes on, you can't fill it up."

Image via Delta/YouTube.

That's why Scarlyn entered Delta's My Next Trip Back contest, for a chance to win a trip to the Dominican Republic.

She hoped to reunite Jean and Liam so they could enjoy some much needed father-son time.

Scarlyn won the contest. And needless to say, she was ecstatic.

I

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

But now came the tricky part — keeping it a surprise.

She told Jean nothing about her big win, but it wasn't easy.

GIF via "Saturday Night Live."

She covered her tracks until the very last minute, even playing a little digital deception on Jean.

"The day before, when I was here in New York, I took a picture of Liam and I in the bed. So I sent him that picture, when I was in the [Dominican Republic]."

The Delta film crew was interviewing Jean at a local park. That's when Scarlyn and Liam made an entrance Jean will not soon forget.

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

"You know when you know something, and you're hiding it, and you think everybody knows," Scarlyn said. "I thought he knew, but he had no idea," Scarlyn said.

"And then we hugged and we cried and everybody cried," she said. "It was so nice. It was awesome."

GIFs via Delta/YouTube.

And thanks to their Skype calls, Liam recognized his dad after just a few minutes. Cue the happy tears!

Scarlyn and Liam recently returned from their trip with many happy memories.

Scarlyn, Liam, and Jean enjoyed several days of fun in the sun, catching up with one another and taking in the sights and sounds of Santo Domingo.

It's a much deserved reward for a family that reflects a new normal of alternative families making life healthy and happy. Because that's what matters.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

Back home in New York, Scarlyn looks back on her recent trip with joy and gratitude. "I'm so glad [Delta] gave me the opportunity to go," she said. "We will not forget it."

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

More
True
Delta


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared