KINGS PARK, NY — A corporal in the U.S. Marines surprised his mom on Thursday after they had not seen each other for more than 900 days.
Corporal Joseph A. Hobbins, a graduate of Northport High School, returned to Long Island to surprise his mother, Paula DiMeo Stayne, while wearing a Santa Claus costume.
Hobbins was unable to go home because of the coronavirus pandemic and had not seen his mother in roughly two-and-a-half years.
"Honestly, I didn't even connect it until I started staring at him and thought, 'What a skinny Santa,'" DiMeo Stayne told Patch. "Then the beard fell and I was stunned. I was overcome with happiness. I didn't think I was going to see him for another year. He recently re-enlisted so I just assumed I'd have to wait until he was back in the states."
The reunion was arranged by DiMeo Stayne's son-in-law, Ryan Jones, who owns Chubs Meats in Medford. DiMeo Stayne said she is "beyond grateful" to Jones for setting the reunion up.
"This man has a heart of gold. I'm still stunned and in shock," she said.