James Phillip Murphy stop on come his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, after popping the end of a giant current surprising him in ~ the Westminster mall in Westminster, CA, top top Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t checked out his son since January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange ar Register/SCNG)

Santa very closely unfolded Connor Lee Murphy’s wish list and also read it aloud. Topping the six-year-old boy’s litany that requests: bring Daddy home for Christmas.

You are watching: Boy ask santa for dad to come home

Following Santa’s directions, Connor let loose a fistful the “magic snowflakes.” On cue, his dream come true – as U.S. Military Sgt. James Phillip Murphy increased from the super-sized gift crate a couple of feet away.

Looking happily stunned, Connor gave his dad’s combat fatigues the once-over. “The military dad!” the effused.


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Connor Lee Murphy, 6, is all smiles together his father, Sgt. James Phillip Murphy, pops out of a giant current surprising his son at the Westminster shopping center in Westminster, CA, top top Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t seen his son due to the fact that January 2019. (Photo through Jeff Gritchen, Orange ar Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy hold on come his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, together he hugs his mam Erica Balbuena-Murphy ~ popping out of a giant present at the Westminster shopping mall in Westminster, CA, on Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t checked out his son because January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy holds on to his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, together he notices friends and also family who pertained to see Sgt. Murphy pop the end of a huge present and surprise him at the Westminster mall in Westminster, CA, top top Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t watched his son because January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy holds on to his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, as his wife, and Connor’s mother, Erica Balbuena-Murphy, come after Sgt. Murphy popped out of a giant present to surprise him in ~ the Westminster shopping center in Westminster, CA, ~ above Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t viewed his son since January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy prepares come pop the end of a giant existing to surprise his kid at the Westminster mall in Westminster, CA, ~ above Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t viewed his son due to the fact that January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange ar Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy crouches within a giant existing as the waits to surprised his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, in ~ the Westminster shopping center in Westminster, CA, ~ above Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t viewed his son due to the fact that January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy stop on come his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, after popping the end of a giant present surprising him in ~ the Westminster shopping center in Westminster, CA, top top Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t watched his son due to the fact that January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy hugs Santa Claus after how amazing his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, by popping the end of a giant current at the Westminster shopping center in Westminster, CA, on Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t viewed his son because January 2019. (Photo through Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy hangs out v Santa Clause prior to popping the end of a giant current to surprise his boy at the Westminster shopping mall in Westminster, CA, ~ above Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t seen his son since January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange county Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy laughs through his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, and also mother, Kathy Murphy-Ayres, ~ popping the end of a giant existing surprising him at the Westminster shopping mall in Westminster, CA, ~ above Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t viewed his son because January 2019. (Photo through Jeff Gritchen, Orange ar Register/SCNG)


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James Phillip Murphy hugs his son, Connor Lee Murphy, 6, after ~ popping out of a giant present surprising him in ~ the Westminster mall in Westminster, CA, on Monday, Dec 16, 2019. Sgt. Murphy hasn’t seen his son since January 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange ar Register/SCNG)


Before that moment Monday evening, Dec. 16, the two had actually not watched each other in person due to the fact that January, as soon as Murphy visited while ~ above leave. He was deployed to southern Korea in might of 2018.


“I’m nervous that my little guy is walk to be taller 보다 me now,” Murphy, 34, quipped, prior to climbing within the gaily wrapped box.

Murphy’s mother, Kathy Murphy-Ayres, struck ~ above the idea after Connor composed a letter come Santa asking for his dad.

Every holiday season, Murphy-Ayres takes Connor come Westminster Mall because that the traditional Santa photo. The very same Santa has showed up there ever since her grandson to be a baby.

“He’s the finest Santa in Orange County,” Murphy-Ayres declared.

So she contacted mall public representative to see if they might help stage the surprise.


Murphy, who father died when he was a teen, grew up on a close-knit cul-de-sac in Anaheim. Two dozen neighbors and also family members discreetly saw the surprise reunion from the mall’s upper floor, letting out cheers at the big reveal.

Murphy and also his wife, Erica Balbuena-Murphy, also a aboriginal of Anaheim, moved to mountain Antonio in 2012. Castle visit your hometown every Christmas.

Getting come the mall started with Murphy’s 15-hour flight from south Korea. His mother picked the up at LAX.

“I need a shower,” Murphy groaned ~ above his come at Santa’s village. However there to be no time for that.

“Look, yes no line because that Santa!” his mom said as she guided Connor come St. Nick.

And the rest is now family lore.

Balbuena-Murphy wiped far tears together she watched she husband and also son hug and also laugh. “I’m so glad he’s home,” she said. “I feel choose our regular, daily lives have been ~ above pause.”

Murphy’s sister Melissa Murphy retained repeating, “I love this! ns love this!”

And Connor pronounced the rendezvous together “like, therefore exciting.”

Which would he rather acquire for Christmas – playthings or his dad? Connor paused a beat, however then confidently answered, “My dad!”

“He had actually to think about that one,” Murphy said, adding that Connor “also desires his two front teeth for Christmas.”

Westminster Mall and also various store representatives presented the family members with presents – including, yes, toys.

Among the welcome crew to be brothers John and also Matt Huggett, who shared Murphy’s cul-de-sac together kids. They maintained in touch with their buddy transparent his deployment.

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“I missed my daughter’s birth when I to be serving overseas,” john Huggett said. “Facetime is a blessing, however on the various other hand, social media makes you constantly mindful of what you’re lacking out on earlier home.”

Murphy enlisted in the army after graduating from Cal State long Beach. He functioned as an operating room specialist. Through his service complete now, Murphy plan to go back to school to knife a degree in physics therapy.