It’s always fun to take photos when you’re with your friends and family, right? Well, when one family decided to document their family road trip on camera, they had no idea who was lurking in the background…
The family in question
Of course, no story would be complete without the family in question, so it’s time to say hello to the Richter family! Hailing from the state of Oregon in the United States, this family is headed up by Amber and Erik Richter, who are loving parents to their young daughters and their eldest son.
In March 2017, the family decided to take a break from their hectic work schedules and their busy school life and opted to spend their spring break heading out on a road trip as a family.
It was nothing they hadn’t done before, and the family were used to jumping in their car and driving to a new destination. It was something that seemed completely ordinary to them, but they soon realized that something out of the ordinary was going on.
Planning their trip
While there are some people in this world who can simply venture off into the unknown and see where they end up, the Richters knew that if they wanted to enjoy their spring break, they needed to plan their trip. They mapped out where they wanted to go and what they wanted to see, and they were incredibly excited about the impending vacation.
Amber and Erik’s daughters were excited to be away from classrooms and school work, and Amber and Erik were looking forward to having some time away from their home.
Because of this, they were well on schedule in terms of packing their suitcases and readying the car for their adventure. They were excited to get the engine started and to get on their way, but this eagerness soon caused them some problems.
Causing the ruckus
Because Amber and Erik’s daughters were so excited to go on their vacation, they were pretty eager to make sure that everything was perfect. It wasn’t long before they were causing a ruckus about who was going to sit where, how much legroom they had, and who was going to be more comfortable in which position.
Their parents didn’t want them to spoil the start of their vacation – especially as they had a long drive ahead of them – so they decided to take matters into their own hands. They told their daughters where they would be sitting, and they noted that they could either like it or lump it.
It seemed as though they were off to a rocky start, but Erik and Amber weren’t going to let that get the better of them. With Erik in the driver’s seat, he tried to compose himself before they officially set off on their road trip.
Making a stop
With all of the children and the adults ready to go and comfortable in their designated seats, it seemed as though there was nothing left for the family to do. While they all wanted to get on their way and head to their vacation destination, they also knew that they would need some sustenance along the way.
So, they decided to make the first stop on their planned route and head to the grocery store. They wanted to stock up on snacks, and Erik and Amber wanted to make sure that their kids wouldn’t cause any more havoc along the way because they were hungry.
As they buckled up their seatbelts and got ready to pull out onto the road and in the direction of the store, it seemed like any other trip they had taken before.
On the way
As Erik pulled out of their driveway and began their road trip, everyone in the car seemed to get even more excited. They were finally on the way! They all believed that after a quick stop-off to stock up on snacks, they would finally be getting closer and closer to their end destination.
However, this excitement came to a screeching halt when Erik decided to stop the car along the way and park it up around a mile away from their house. His kids were confused and asked their father why he had suddenly decided to stop when they were still so close to home.
They couldn’t have been at the store already. Erik soon reassured his children and told them that he had just stopped the car because he wanted to capture their moment on camera so they could remember it for years to come.
Keeping some memories
Erik Richter has always been the kind of person who loves to take photographs of his family, and it was no different on that particular day. Not only does he love to look back on these photos and see his children growing up in the form of photographs, but at the time of their vacation, he was also putting his creative juices to good use and creating a scrapbook.
He was making this masterpiece for his son and was filling it with all kinds of goodies that hinted towards the goings-on in their lives.
He filled it with ticket stubs, schedules, pictures, and little notes, and he wanted the whole thing to be perfect. As their vacation was hopefully going to be one to remember, Erik wanted to add a picture or two to the scrapbook.
Although Erik wanted his whole family to pose for the photo that he was going to take for the scrapbook, he also wanted to take a few photos that weren’t so forced. So, he got snap-happy when his daughters weren’t looking and took some other photographs of his daughters looking candid.
Of course, like many young girls, his daughters didn’t take too kindly about being caught off guard. They wanted to make sure that they were looking at their best in any photo taken of them, so they snatched their father’s phone off him and went to swipe through the photos.
However, the girls didn’t get the chance to do that, because they realized that their dad hadn’t taken any photos at all. Instead, he was taking a video the whole time. It was a typical dad mistake.
Realizing the mistake
It didn’t take long for Erik to realize that he had made a mistake, and it seemed as though the kids thought the whole ordeal was pretty funny. After all, their dad had made such a big deal out of taking a photo, and he hadn’t even been taking any photos in the first place.
Thankfully, Erik was also able to see the funny side of the situation, and he soon began to laugh along with his children. Because he found the whole thing absolutely hilarious and his kids looked as though they couldn’t be any happier if they tried, Erik knew that he had to keep filming them.
It was these kinds of moments that they’d look back on in years to come, and it was these kinds of moments that would put a smile on their faces when they looked back at the footage.
However, while Erik filmed his family and their continuous laughter, they had no idea that there was actually someone creeping up behind them. This person had been there the whole time, and the family had no idea about it. The dark figure was simply hiding in the background while the family were going about their business, and they had purposefully disguised themselves to ensure that they would not be seen.
But who would go to so much effort to ensure that they weren’t seen by the people in the car? Did they have bad intentions? Had they simply ended up in the wrong car?
Why had they not made the family aware of their presence before then? When Erik and his family saw the figure in the video behind them, they just couldn’t believe it. The presence of this person shook them to the core.
After the family took a moment to process the creepy figure, it didn’t take them long to realize what was really going on. Within seconds they were screaming at the top of their lungs and putting their hands over their mouths in shock. They couldn’t believe what was happening, but they weren’t screaming because they were fearful of the dark figure that was sitting behind them.
Instead, they were over the moon because the figure was actually pretty familiar to them. They weren’t a robber coming to harm them in any way, but was instead someone they knew extremely well.
That’s because the person who had crept up on them was actually Amber and Erik’s son. Their daughters were over the moon to see their brother and just couldn’t believe he was actually in front of them.
Leaving him behind
Of course, to those who don’t know the full extent of the story, this may seem a little strange. Why would the family scream over the fact that their brother is in the trunk? Were they not familiar with his face? Did they not see him all the time? Well, it seemed as though they didn’t.
If you take a closer look at the photographs from the start of their family road trip, you’ll know that their family vacation was missing one particular person.
While Erik and Amber were excited to get away with their daughters, they were also a little upset because they knew that their son wouldn’t be able to get away with them. He had told them that he wasn’t going to be able to make it, so his presence in the car was a little confusing. What was he doing?
The whole family was overcome with shock, and you can see as much by their faces. However, Rowan Richter found this even funnier than staying quiet and hidden in the trunk, and he quickly clambered his way over the seats and into the back of the car to where his sisters were sitting.
He was amazed to see how shocked they were, and he wanted to give them a big hug – but they just couldn’t get any words out. In fact, Amber was the first one to be able to get out a coherent sentence, but that didn’t mean that it was a safe sentence.
Amber shrieked at the top of her lungs and noted that her son had scared her to no end. Of course, she didn’t say it in such a polite and well-mannered way…
Giving them a hug
Although it took a while for the whole family to get over the initial shock of Rowan’s presence, they soon managed to calm themselves down and fully embrace what was going on. Their brother was in their car! It was amazing to see him, and they couldn’t believe that they were finally in his presence after such a long time.
However, it seemed as though they weren’t the only ones who were struggling to contain their excitement. Rowan also couldn’t get over the fact that he was seeing his family in the flesh, and he couldn’t help but reach over and give them all a big hug.
Everyone was excited to have the family back together, but they soon began to wonder how Rowan had managed to pull off his big surprise. Surely he must have had help along the way?
Working it out
The family began to speculate how Rowan had managed to get into the car without any of them realizing, and they soon began to wonder whether one of their other family members had been in on the action. Amber knew that it wasn’t her, but she also knew enough about her son to know that he wouldn’t be able to keep such a thing a secret without the help and guidance of one of her other family members.
So, she began to rack her brains and wonder whether something in her family had gone amiss in the days running up to their trip. She looked first toward her husband.
Had he been acting strangely? Had he said anything that could have suggested he was in on the plan? Had he done anything out of the ordinary? After thinking hard, she couldn’t think of anything.
In on the secret
Despite the fact that she couldn’t think of anything her husband had done that was out of the ordinary, she still decided to ask him outright whether he had been in on the secret. As soon as she saw the giant smile on his face, she knew that she had found the culprit! Her husband had been acting the whole time and had actually been conspiring with Rowan for the past few weeks to pull off the hilarious plan.
The father and son duo had been speaking to each other for a while, and they had worked hard to put together a plan of action that would fool the other members of their family.
Erik even sneakily made his way to the airport to pick up his son without anyone else knowing. It was the perfect plan, and Amber couldn’t help but joke, “You’re evil!” to her husband.
Reunited at last
Amber was so taken aback by the sight of her only son in front of her, and she quickly lost control of her body and her movements. Before she knew it, she had made her way out of the car and was standing outside of it, wondering if what she was looking at inside the car was real. Was her son really in front of her?
After Rowan had made the rounds and hugged all of his siblings, it was soon time for mom to have her go. Their reunion was emotional and heartfelt, and everyone in the family could feel the immense feelings of love that was making the rounds.
It was the first time they had seen Rowan in what seemed like forever, and they were all over the moon to be in his presence again. Plus, it was spring break, which meant that they could really enjoy each other’s company.
Sharing the video
Of course, after stopping his car initially and playing around with his phone, Erik was in a prime position to film the whole encounter. He knew that his family would be ecstatic to see their brother and son again, and he knew that it was the kind of thing that needed to be on camera.
So, that’s exactly what he decided to do. It was amazing for the whole family to look back on their reunion as the days went by, and Erik soon wondered whether he should keep the video a secret that only their family could watch, or share it with the world.
In the end, he realized that the world needs a story like theirs sometimes, so uploaded the whole thing to YouTube. It didn’t take long for the video to go viral, and people around the world were soon watching their family online.
Racking up views
The family couldn’t believe that so many people were watching their video online, and they were amazed to see the views rack up every single day. In fact, within the first few days of posting this emotional video, they had accumulated over 90,000 views.
Before they knew it, the video was being shared on other forms of social media, and the numbers just kept increasing and increasing.
Of course, these people weren’t just watching the video and then going about their day. They also commented on the video and discussed the genuine feelings of love
It seemed as though people just couldn’t get enough of the connection between the whole Richter family, and they could see just how genuine their reactions were. After all, the whole family – apart from Erik – had no idea that their son and brother would be making an appearance on that day, let alone in their car.
People posted comments in their thousands, and one particular viewer didn’t know what they loved most about the video. On the one hand, they just couldn’t get enough of how Amber reacted when she saw her son.
On the other hand, they could see that Erik just couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole encounter, and it was adorable to watch. It was clear to see that everyone was happy that Rowan was home, but where had he been?
Surprising someone else
Amazingly, the surprises didn’t stop there for the Richter family. While Rowan and his father had successfully been able to scare the living daylights out of his mother and three sisters, there was still another member of their family who didn’t know that he was back in Oregon.
In Rowan’s grandmother’s eyes, her grandson was still in the Marines and still busy miles away from home. So, he knew that he needed to surprise her, just as he had done with the rest of his family.
This time, the whole family wanted to get in on the action, so they all worked together to film the next part of their video, which would take place in their grandmother’s house. She was not expecting it in the slightest and didn’t know what was coming for her…
Calling her first
Of course, it’s rude to just turn up at someone’s house unannounced, so Erik decided to take the lead. He picked up his cell phone and rang his mother and noted that they would be making a stop to her house on the way to their vacation destination. He wanted to make sure that she was in, and he wanted to make sure that she knew who to expect.
Rowan’s grandmother knew that her grandson was away, but was happy to invite her granddaughters, her son, and her daughter-in-law into her home before they went away.
The family couldn’t wait to get the engine started and to make their way over to their grandmother’s house, and they excitedly spoke about their plan on the way there. They couldn’t wait to see her reaction.
Planning it perfectly
It seemed as though their planning worked in their favor because the whole thing was a great success. After Amber, Erik, and their three daughters made their way into their grandmother’s house, they sat down and had a cup of tea for an hour or so.
To not ruin the surprise, Rowan stayed outside and planned his entrance perfectly. Once again, Erik was in on the whole thing, and when the family got up to leave, he told his mother to make her way into another room to look at something.
She followed him without knowing exactly what was going on, and without realizing that her grandson was getting ready to sneak up on her. Like the ultimate sleuth, Rowan was able to keep quiet until he was just a few feet away from his grandmother.
Running in the family
Excited to see her reaction, Rowan reached out to his grandmother, and she immediately turned around. It was an instant reaction, but she had no idea what would be standing behind her. Had someone made their way into her house without realizing it? Had a burglar come into the same room as her?
When she realized that it was her wonderful grandson, she just couldn’t believe it. Her jaw immediately hit the floor, she put her hand over her mouth, and she shrieked at the top of her lungs.
In fact, she reacted in a similar way to the rest of her family, and it was clear to see that they were all related. Rowan’s grandmother began to suspect that she was seeing things, but she soon realized that everyone else in the room knew he was there as well.
Lifting him up
Despite the fact that Rowan’s grandmother nearly had the life frightened out of her, she was over the moon to be seeing her grandson in the flesh. She didn’t care that her heart was pounding, and she thought she was being burgled because she was finally able to lay her eyes on Rowan for the first time in what seemed like forever.
She quickly made her way over to her grandson and lifted his up as high as she could physically lift him, and started laughing along with the rest of her family.
She was both overjoyed and annoyed, and she couldn’t believe that Rowan would play tricks on her like that. As she stared right at his face, she jokingly said, “Shame on you!” and looked around at the rest of her family in disbelief.
Couldn’t put him down
Every time that Rowan’s grandmother stepped away from him and took a look at her handsome grandson, she just had to go back to him and hug him again. She just couldn’t put him down. After everything he had been through and after everything that he had achieved, she was so proud of him and so happy to see him after a long time away from each other.
As she looked at her grandson, she could see just how much he had transformed over the course of his life, and she knew that he had always wanted to be a soldier.
It was always his dream to make his way into the military, and he knew that from an early age. To see his dreams come true for a dream come true for his grandmother.
After a short while in each other’s company, the time had come for Rowan and his siblings to leave. While they didn’t want to, they knew that they had to get on their way. His grandmother tried with all her might to get them to stay a little longer, but it just didn’t seem to work.
Rowan had commitments, and he hadn’t been allowed a huge amount of time away from the Marines to visit his family. He needed to get on their way, and this meant that they finally had to say goodbye.
None of his family could bring themselves to acknowledge the fact that they had to watch their brother, son, and grandson leave after such a short amount of time together, and the whole thing just didn’t seem real. They wanted their dream to last forever.
Reporting for duty
For the rest of the Richter family, it was bad enough saying goodbye to their grandmother. They always felt sad when leaving this woman behind in her home, but it was nothing compared to the way that all of them felt about saying goodbye to Rowan.
His visit had been so fleeting yet so wonderful, and they just couldn’t bear to think of him going away again. However, they knew that he had to report for duty, and they knew that he had to make his way back to his military base.
His grandmother gave him a kiss on his forehead, and they all began to wonder when they would be seeing him again. Despite the fact that they had to send him on his way, their brief encounter made them appreciate Rowan even more than they already did.
More than anything, they felt immense feelings of pride for their brother, son, and grandson. After growing up with dreams of becoming a Marine, Rowan had been able to pass all of the necessary requirements to make his mark in the military. He worked incredibly hard to become a member of the U.S Marines, and he had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders…
Especially because he wasn’t just any soldier. Thanks to his hard work and dedication, Rowan had actually been promoted to the position of Lance Corporal.
This made him a hugely important asset to his team, and this meant that he was also pretty busy. However, that didn’t mean that he didn’t get back home every now and then to see his family and spend time with his sisters.
If you’re not familiar with military rankings, Rowan ranks as the third-highest authority figure within the order of seniority, and his family were extremely proud of him for that. They had watched him grow as a person from when he was a child, but they have watched him grow even more in the military.
While they know that this role takes him away from home and forces him to travel across the world and into dangerous situations, they know that he is doing what he has always wanted.
Hopefully, Rowan will continue being able to make surprise trips home every so often – with or without his father’s help. Of course, he might want to take the scaring down a notch for the sake of his family’s hearts and their overall wellbeing.