College Graduate Surprised at Commencement by Mom Who Had Been Deployed: 'My Heart Dropped'

Malik Heard graduated from the University of West Georgia earlier this month with his mom's support

<p>University of West Georgia/ Instagram</p> Malik Heard receiving his diploma, Malik Heard hugging his mother.

University of West Georgia/ Instagram

Malik Heard receiving his diploma, Malik Heard hugging his mother.

One college graduate got quite the surprise at his commencement ceremony.

Malik Heard was walking across the stage at the University of West Georgia in early May when his mother, Sgt. Eva Roby — who had been deployed in Kosovo — made a surprise appearance.

In footage from the ceremony, Heard can be seen shaking hands with members of the college faculty onstage, before a voice over a loudspeaker announced that a "special guest has shown up all the way from Kosovo."

After taking a second to connect the dots, Heard looked around the auditorium, before walking off-stage to meet his mom amid cheers from others also in attendance at the celebratory event.

The pair then spent time hugging and rocking each other back and forth as Heard's mom rubbed his back.

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Speaking with WSB-TV, Heard said he realized his mom was able to make it to celebrate his milestone moment when he heard the name of the Southeast European country where she had been stationed.

“Kosovo, Kosovo, that’s what caught my attention. I was listening to what he was saying, but then I heard Kosovo and I knew that’s where she was deployed. I was like, 'Hold on,' ” he told the outlet.

“I looked to the right again, and I saw her come around the corner and that’s when my heart dropped," Heard added.

Roby told WSB-TV that she was unsure if she would be able to make it to her son's college graduation given that it was during what she described as a "pretty popular time" for leave requests.

But, as soon as she learned that she would be able to make it to celebrate her son, Roby said she contacted the University of West Georgia and they "were excited" to help her plan her surprise reunion.

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