An Army husband received the surprise of his life on Wednesday when he stepped off the plane after a yearlong stint in Afghanistan and saw his wife who had dropped 100 pounds in his absence.
When Specialist Larry Shaffer’s plane landed in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina he was greeted by almost 50 cheering friends and family who had gathered for his arrival, holding up welcome signs and yelling “Surprise!” When the crowd parted, his wife Misty Shaffer, who had shed 100 pounds from her 250-pound frame, rushed into his arms.
“I was speechless. There was so much to take in,” Larry, 27, told Yahoo! Shine. “I was expecting only immediate family and was so surprised to see the crowd. Then Misty appeared and she was half the person she used to be. I couldn’t believe it.” Misty, 24, had kept her weight loss largely a secret, telling her husband that she was trying to lose only a few pounds and sending him photos of herself from the shoulders up so he wouldn’t suspect the dramatic transformation. “There were so many times when I was dying to send him cute photos but I held back because I really wanted it to be a surprise,” Misty told Yahoo! Shine. “He’s never seen me this thin.”
Although she barely exercised, Misty lost the weight by eating smaller portions, drinking lots of water, not eating three to four hours before bedtime and avoiding her biggest craving—potato chips. It also helped that her husband, who usually did the cooking, wasn’t there to tempt her. “Misty has always struggled with her weight and my ice cream and large home-cooked meals probably contributed to that,” said Larry. “With me gone, she was able to make smaller, lighter portions. Now we compromise: A few times a week I’ll make what I want if I agree to try her healthier food.”
His unconditional support was also key. “He’s never asked me to lose weight and always said he’d love me no matter what I looked like,” said Misty.
There were two more surprises in store for Larry. “I saw my 3-year-old daughter Nevaeh—she had grown so much in the time I was away!” he said. The father-daughter pair are making up for lost time, spending lots of time playing outdoors and watching cartoons. “When Nevaeh first saw her dad, she was scared,” said Misty. “But she warmed up as soon as he handed her a stuffed camel he had brought back for her. She instantly named her Sandy.”
The place Larry calls home is different, too. While he was away, his wife had purchased a new house in Leland, North Carolina. The couple, who were high school sweethearts and married in 2008, had always dreamed of buying a home so Misty took care of the details. “I knew she was going to buy it because I had to sign some papers but I had no clue what the house looked like other than a few photos and a quick Skype video,” he said.
While Larry is getting used to his wife’s new appearance, they’ve both become local celebrities. “People approach us in the mall and compliment Misty on her weight loss,” he said. “And she can’t go four hours without getting 20 Facebook friend requests.” Larry will remain stateside for the next two years and quality time is definitely on the docket. “It’s Misty’s birthday this weekend so I’ll have to think of a way to return the surprise,” he said.