Soldier Son Surprises Mom He Hasn't Seen in 2 Years as She's Sworn in as a Police Officer

"She's never let something stop her from achieving what she wants," Army Sgt. Giovanni Pando said of his mother, Officer Erika Benning

A Texas police officer was in for a surprise of a lifetime when an unexpected — and extra special — guest turned up at her swearing-in ceremony last week.

It had been over two years since Erika Benning last saw her son, Giovanni Pando — but that all changed on Friday as she was being sworn in as a cop with the Irving Police Department in Dallas, according to their Facebook page.

In an emotional video the department posted on social media, Benning, 42, had just completed her oath and was about to receive her new badge when her 21-year-old son, an Army sergeant who has been stationed overseas for years, suddenly showed up.

At the sight of Pando in his uniform, Benning was overcome with emotion and couldn’t help but break down in tears as her son went over to comfort her.

To make the moment even more special, the Irving Police Department arranged for Pando to be the one to pin his mother’s badge on her police uniform.

In the video, Benning could be seen holding back tears while her son presented the badge before the duo embraced in a tight hug and took photos together.

“All swearing-in ceremonies are special but every once in a while one tugs at your heartstrings a little more than others,” the Irving Police Department wrote beside the emotional clip.

officer surprised by son
Irving Police Department

Speaking to CNN after the reunion, Benning, an immigrant from Honduras, explained that the swearing-in ceremony had been a long time coming after she became pregnant with Pando at a young age, prompting her to put her dream of becoming a police officer on the back burner.

After Pando graduated high school, Benning told the outlet he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany — marking the first time he had been away from his mother for a significant amount of time.

Because of how long she had waited to have a chance at both becoming a cop and to reunite with her son, Benning said Friday’s surprise was even more meaningful.

“When my son came around the corner and I realized that this was real, my breathing just started to slow down, and everything just felt really tight,” Benning recalled to CNN. “I just didn’t want to pass out because I wanted to enjoy every moment of it.”

“The only other moment that I will never forget that is more meaningful than this was the day I gave birth to him,” she went on. “So, this moment of him pinning my badge, I have to say is up there with that.”

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“He’s the reason why I breathe every single day,” Benning added. “He’s the reason why I wake up every morning. He’s my world.”

As for Pando, he was equally as moved by the touching moment and even admitted to CNN that he cried a “little bit of tears” during the surprise.

“It was overwhelming. I felt every emotion you could think of just from being happy for her and also missing her. I was also trying to keep my composure as well,” Pando explained to the outlet.

The sergeant also revealed that he’d like to follow in his mother’s footsteps after his time in the Army and become a police officer, crediting Benning’s work ethic as part of the reason for his decision.

“She’s never let something stop her from achieving what she wants,” Pando explained to CNN. “And while raising me, that’s always something she’s preached to me. If you want something, work for it and you’ll achieve your goal.”

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