JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Erica Bray got back from her lunch break at Weather Engineers and was just going about her day when all of a sudden it got a whole lot brighter with the love of her life in her arms.
Bray never expected to see the face of her 22-year-old boyfriend, Matthew Moore, who returned home Tuesday after spending seven months serving in Kabul, Afghanistan, providing operational support.
It took Moore five days to get home.
The whole office was in on the surprise.
"It was the first time in 13 years I've been able to keep a secret from her," said Melissa Loveland.
Moore's parents picked him up at the airport and then headed to Bray's office.
"I'm just glad he's here and he's OK, and we're all together again," said Terry Cannizzaro, the sailor's mom.
Moore said conditions in Kabul are tough.
"You see kids running around in trash, playing with rats as soccer balls, stuff like that, so it definitely makes you appreciate everything we have here," Moore said.
The biggest difference?
"There's actual fresh air here," Moore said.
But there's one thing he hasn't been able to stop thinking about for the last seven months: Arby's.
"Just a regular roast beef sandwich with curly fries," he said.
That, accompanied with his family and his one true love in his arms, Moore said, is the perfect trip home.
"It was the greatest feeling I've ever felt," he said. "I can't put into words. I'm glad to be home."
"It's the best feeling in the world," Bray said.
After about two weeks, Moore will go back to Kabul for the next four months, and then he'll get to come back to his family and his full-time job working at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the Emergency Operations Center.