Son Dresses Up As Waiter To Surprise Parents He Hasn't Seen for Three Years

A man who spent the last three years living overseas decided to surprise his parents upon returning home by disguising himself as a waiter and serving them in a local restaurant.

When he did finally reveal his true identity, their heartwarming reaction to being reunited with their adult son helped the resulting footage go viral on social media.

According to TikTok, Sting Khan, who based on his use of the hashtag #overseasfilipinoworkers is from the Philippines, had spent the last three years living and working in Ireland. But, with his mom turning 75, Khan decided to spring a surprise on his parents to mark her birthday.

The resulting encounter can be watched here.

Khan was likely isolated from family throughout the coronavirus pandemic and a time when the charity the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that, in the U.S. alone, four in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.

Perhaps that's what made footage of his family reunion such a relatable and emotional experience for those watching on social media, with the clip racking up just over 13 million views in the space of 24 hours.

In the video, Khan's mom can be seen politely discussing their order with the masked "waiter" as he kneels down beside them, possibly waiting to see if she realizes who is underneath the face covering.

Several minutes of pleasant conversation pass before Khan decides to reveal himself. Even then a couple of seconds pass before his mom realizes what is happening.

When she eventually fixes her gaze on the "waiter" she lets out a scream of shock and delight before the tears begin to flow.

Mother and son share a warm embrace while a rendition of "Happy Birthday" can be heard in the background. Khan also hugs his dad before returning to his mom, who is sobbing with happiness at seeing him again after so long.

Newsweek has contacted Khan for comment.

A heartwarming example of the kinds of reunions that have occurred for so many families split apart as a result of the pandemic, the footage elicited a mix of tears and joy among those watching online.

Ginebilog10 described the mom's reaction as "priceless," while akibicolana wrote: "I'm crying."

Some were shocked at her inability to recognize her own son, even with a mask on. "How could a parent not recognize their child's eyes and voice?" Mandi Kandola asked. Izhamistar agreed, writing: "Good surprise of course, but how a mom can't recognize him from eyes, voice etc..."

Others, however, spoke of similar experiences, with Vic L206 noting: "This was my dad and sister picking me up at the airport. After three years and the pandemic, they couldn't recognize me with a mask."

Meanwhile, beyond the reunion, most were simply impressed at how kind and courteous Khan's mom was to what she thought was an ordinary waiter.

As Jon Caysido put it: "I admired how they talked to him not knowing that he is their son. That only shows how wonderful parents they are. They treat every person with respect."

An older woman and a waiter.
Stock image of an older woman at a restaurant and a waiter. A man found a unique way to surprise his parents after three years away from home. Tomwang112/eggeeggjiew/Getty