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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It was a graduation surprise and a Mother’s Day gift wrapped into one big event.

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A member of the Coast Guard returned home on Thursday to surprise his mother, who was graduating from a South Florida college.

Marcus Roberts, 27, showed up in uniform at the Broward College commencement ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, holding pink and red roses to present to his stunned mother, Jennifer Freeman, the Miami Herald reported.

Freeman had dropped out of high school to care for her brother and sister, her three children and two nephews. On Thursday she was asked to take a photo with Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile before receiving her associate’s degree in communications. But when she saw her son, Freeman ran across the Broward County Convention Center stage in black stilettos to hug her son, according to the newspaper.

“This is the best Mother’s Day ever,” Freeman told the Herald. “I think this is the best Mother’s Day any mother could get.”

Because he was serving overseas, Roberts knew he could not attend his mother’s big event, the newspaper reported.

“It didn’t seem like it was going to happen so she was a little disappointed, but she understood I’m serving,” Roberts told the Herald. “Then in March, the deployment schedule got changed, and I figured rather than me just telling her, I would pop up and surprise her.”

Roberts contacted the college and put the plan in motion to surprise his unsuspecting mother.

It capped off a memorable day. Freeman graduated with her son in attendance.

“I finally did it. This is no longer a dream,” Freeman told the Herald. “I did it.”