MANHATTAN — A U.S. Army captain flew halfway around the world from Afghanistan to arrive just in time to surprise his daughter as she graduated from Columbia University.
Capt. Keith Robinson, who has been deployed for the last six months, managed to catch a string of last-minute connections to stun his daughter, Ruby, just as she was handed her School of Engineering diploma from Dean Mary Boyce and President Lee Bollinger.
“I am so proud of you,” Robinson said Monday as he wrapped his arms around his girl, hugging her and planting a kiss on her head in front of a cheering audience at the Class Day graduation ceremony that was streamed live on the web.
“I love you so much."
The Robinsons had all but given up on their family reunion given his military responsibilities.
“I had to let her know that I would not be there,” Robinson told a university interviewer.
“I did not expect him to be there,” Ruby said. “I did not think it was possible. And I was kinda upset by it, but I knew he had other duties to do in Afghanistan.”
But a few days ago, Robinson’s commanding officer suddenly announced he had obtained a few days leave for him.
“We started juggling things (and) he got me out as fast as possible,” said Robinson, who lives in Denver, Colorado. “Everything happened so fast.”
Robinson grabbed a transport flight to Kuwait, where he caught another flight to the U.S.
”God is good in so many ways,” Robinson said on the broadcast.
“It was like every stop along the way, ‘Can you leave in 15 minutes and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I can leave in 15 minutes.”
“To have your parents at your graduation,” the smiling graduate said. “It is a big thing.”