Sandy Miller, who lives in Naperville, Illinois, thought that she was going to take a half-court shot to win some money.
She was blindfolded and then lead out to the centre of the court. Benny the Bull, the Chicago Bulls’ mascot, then took off the blindfold to reveal her son, Lt. Kyle Hanford, who was stood before her.
Miller immediately broke down in tears and dropped the basketball. Susan Goodenow, Chicago Bulls’ spokeswoman, told ABCNews.com, “The players, coaches, and staff from both the Bulls and Pacers were applauding when the reunion happened.”
Only Hanford’s father knew that he would be returning, and he came to the United Center right from the airport.
The reunion was planned by Hanford and the Bulls, the USO and NBA Cares charity organization, because they had not seen each other in two years.
The incident occurred in the first quarter break of their encounter with the Indiana Pacers, and his sister, Natalie Miller, was also in the audience.
Goodenow added, “We had expressed an interest in helping them [the USO] with a reunion, and then they came to us with this incredible opportunity to help a family of Bulls fans.”
The Bulls then went on to beat the Indiana Pacers by 87-84 points, to help top a perfect weekend for the family.
Luol Deng helped the team to victory by claiming 20 points, whilst Carlos Boozer notched 18, but the victory was far from assured with only a minute left after a four point play by George Hill brought Indiana to within three points in the final minute.
However, the Pacers missed their chance to tie after Paul George missed two 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds.
Did Hanford and Miller’s reconciliation bring you to tears? You can watch a video of the incident below.