THREE Cork children got the best Christmas present anyone could dream of last night when their dad, who was on a six-month tour of duty in Mali with the Defence Forces, jumped out of a box live on The Late Late Toy Show.
There was barely a dry eye in the TV studio — and among the million and a half viewers at home — as Adam, 8, Kayla, 6, and Emily, 4, and mum Marie, of Midleton, were reunited with Sergeant Graham Burke. He was in full uniform for the surprise, which stole the hearts of the nation, as he received an emotional welcome from his family and host Ryan Tubridy.
The twist took place after Adam and Kayla had reviewed a number of toys for Ryan. Adam said his dad wouldn’t be watching them on the show as he was “training soldiers in Mali”. Tubridy then led them over to a huge box, wrapped in Christmas paper, telling them this was a present for people “who wanted more surprises than anyone else in the world”.
The ensuing scenes trended on social media worldwide.
The Wife and Partners of the Defence Forces group posted their gratitude to Ryan and the show, thanking them for acknowledging the work the Defence Forces do.