Nine-year-old cheerleader Mikayla Lange was surprised with a very special good luck message from her father, Sgt. First Class Robert Lange, stationed halfway across the world with the National Guard.
Ahead of a national competition, Lange's teammates' dads performed a hilarious cheer routine and, soon after they were done, the little athlete from Iowa was shocked to see her own father on a video screen whip out a routine of his own with his military unit in the Middle East.
The heartwarming moment took place on April 27 during a celebratory send-off for the Koach All-Stars Cheerleading and Tumbling team in Ankeny, ahead of the team’s departure for a national competition.
At the event, a large group of the girls' fathers brought the house down with a surprise act, complete with tumbling, forward rolls, jumps, shimmying and stunts.
The show wasn’t over at the conclusion of the performance, though, when a cheer instructor called on Mikayla before the crowd.
"For those that may not know, little Mikayla's dad is deployed, so he could not be here today. So we wanted you to feel special and all of those dads are now your dad," Ashley Bailey said, according to WHOTV.
Accepting an American flag and a rose from each of the spirited fathers, Mikayla then sat with her mom, Madison, and little brother for an even more exciting surprise.
"Hey, Mikayla! I'm sorry I can't be there with you, but I can't wait to get home and see you!" Robert said in a recorded message, sporting a “Never thought I’d be a Cheer Dad but here I am killin’ it” shirt identical to that of the other “cheer dads.”
Sprinting to join his fellow service members, the unit then broke out into the same routine in the middle of the desert, in uniform.
Overcome with emotion, Mikayla could barely believe it.
"At first, I was bawling my eyes out and then ... I looked up at the screen and my dad was doing cartwheels," she told ABC News of feeling “amazing” seeing her dad on screen. "It probably took him a month to learn [it.]"
The Iowa National Guard joked on Facebook that, even though they think Robert’s “soldering is better than his cartwheeling,” they were glad to see the 248th Aviation Support Battalion of the 67th Troop Command supporting the squad.
With Robert away on his second tour, the Lange family has been seriously missing their favorite military man. However, Mikayla told ABC that she is grateful they have her cheer family to lean on while he is deployed.
Likewise, Madison described her family’s appreciation for the outpouring of love their now viral story has received, with special thanks to all those who participated in the special surprise.
“The surprise was a month in the making. The local cheer dads would practice and then record it so my husband could learn it to. The flags and flowers for her were a surprise to me that night. So thanks to the coaches for that,” she told Fox News.