She was about to graduate after 25 year journey, but then she looked left for surprise of a lifetime.

After 25 years in the medical industry, Margaret “Penny” Pearson made a big decision: to go back to school and officially become a registered nurse. It was a lot of work, but the day Penny finally got to attend her pinning ceremony, it all felt worth it. That day, her determination at last paid off and her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse was finally realized. But something big was missing… her son, U.S. Army sergeant Dustin Pearson.

Dustin had recently returned to the United States after a yearlong deployment to Kuwait. Even though he was finally back on American soil, he had not seen his mother as he was stationed in Texas. Dustin told his mom there was no way he could make it to her pinning ceremony.

Not only was Penny disappointed because she missed her son after a year apart, but she really wanted him there so that he could pin her. Traditionally, graduates choose a loved one to pin them at the ceremony, and Penny had wanted Dustin there more than ever; especially since he played a key role in encouraging her to finally go back and get her RN degree, 25 years after she had to give up that dream to raise her children.

Little did she know, Dustin was actually there… hiding behind a door! Friends and family of Penny– as well as staff at the Rasmussen College School of Nursing, from which Penny was graduating– secretly collaborated to ensure Dustin’s presence was a surprise.


One college adviser said Penny made it difficult to keep the secret. “She made comments all week to everybody about how sad she was that he won’t be there,” she said. But Penny’s face when she finally saw Dustin was well worth the effort!

The video below of the surprise has already touched so many hearts.


“I had no idea,” she said through tears after the ceremony. “I don’t know who knew, but they’re getting a piece of my mind later.”

Watch the video below to see the emotional moment.

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