It Was Just A Prank
Deanna giggles with excitement as she hides in her daughter's bed. You see, Deanna’s daughter McKenna had moved to college over 100 miles away, and her mom was missing her. So she decided to spontaneously surprise her in her college dorm.
She didn’t tell McKenna though. In fact, McKenna thought her mom was back home, 100 miles away. But in reality, she wasn’t. She was hiding in her bed, waiting to see the look of joy and surprise on her daughter's face. But little did this devoted mom know, her sweet surprise would end up taking a wrong turn, and her entire world was about to come crashing down.
Missing Her Daughter
Deanna and McKenna had a super close mother/daughter relationship. So when it was time for McKenna to attend college, Deanna was shocked that her New Yorker daughter wanted to go to Utah State University.
To say the least, the mom was heartbroken to have her daughter across the country. She knew that it would be the best decision to let McKenna spread her wings and leave the nest. But this mom had no idea what her daughter was up to 1000 miles away.
The day before McKenna was heading back home to New York for the summer, Deanna decided to do something special and surprise her daughter at her college.
Deanna would learn soon enough that surprising a kid at college is not a good idea. She was not at all prepared for what she would find.
She Seemed Happy
When McKenna first moved away, Deanna worried how she would get on all by herself. Thankfully, it seemed McKenna had managed to get a good group of friends. They seemed like sensible kids; the kind of kids that all mothers want their own kids to be friends with.
But little did Deanna know what type of people her daughter’s ‘friends’ really were.
A Perfect Life?
From Deanna’s perspective, her daughter was having a fantastic college experience. She seemed to be absolutely loving her life, which was all that Deanna wanted.
But the smitten mom was about to find out the truth. And she wasn’t prepared for what she would find.
Last Minute Flight
Deanna thought it would be fun to show up in Utah a day earlier without telling McKenna. After all, her daughter must miss her too.
Maybe not as much as Deanna, but still, there’s a special connection between a mother and her daughter. Who doesn’t love a surprise from their mom? But Deanna had no idea what was coming.
All Aboard To Utah
Without notifying McKenna of her arrival, Deanna booked a last-minute plane ticket from New York City to Utah.
She boarded the flight, bursting with excitement to surprise her daughter. But Deanna had no idea of the surprise she herself was about to get!
One Missed Call
Deanna tried to call McKenna before boarding her flight to find out her plans for the night. Unfortunately, McKenna did not answer. Where was she? What was she doing?
When Deanna was onboard the flight, she hoped that her daughter hadn't gone out somewhere. Little did Deanna know what her daughter was up to.
A Five Hour Flight Later
After being on a plane for five hours, Deanna landed in Logan, Utah. She was able to grab a fresh coffee and a cab and head to Utah State.
Driving through her daughter's new city, Deanna thought back to the little girl that McKenna once was. She remembered her pigtails and toothless cheery smile. Then suddenly, Deanna’s phone rang.
Wanted It To Be A Surprise
Her daughter was calling her back and Deanna started to panic. Since she did not want to ruin the surprise, she denied the call.
The mother was worried that if she answered, McKenna would start to catch on to her plan! She turned her phone on silent and watched as the cab pulled up to her daughter's campus. But she would soon wish she’d answered.
When Deanna arrived at the campus, she was suddenly overwhelmed with nerves. The last time she’d been on campus was when she brought McKenna in the fall semester.
But nine months had passed since then and it felt like a completely different place. Then a young man who looked oddly familiar approached Deanna and introduced himself.
At The Campus
The last time Deanna was on campus was when she moved McKenna in the fall semester. Nine months had passed since that time and when she got to campus this time she felt a little lost.
She tried to remember where McKenna’s dorm was, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Little did Deanna know she should have turned the car around and gone back home.
Nice Young Man
“Are you lost?” the young man asked politely. Deanna was relieved that someone was around to help so she didn’t end up wandering around the campus all day, but she couldn’t put her finger on where she’d met him before.
But before Deanna could explain that she was looking for her daughter’s dorm, she spotted something in the distance.
Back On Track
“Oh! That’s my daughter’s dorm over there! I recognize it now,” Deanna told the young man before thanking him and making her way over to surprise McKenna.
When she stood in front of the building, she was pleased to have finally arrived and couldn’t wait to see McKenna. But she would soon learn to call ahead when dropping in on her daughter.
Deanna shuffled through the busy corridor of students who were moving out for the summer. She hoped the young man she’d met earlier wasn’t a friend of McKenna’s who might tell her she was there and ruin the surprise.
But before she could find McKenna’s room, she remembered where she recognized the young man from - and was suddenly overwhelmed with embarrassment.
The young man that offered to help her had been there when McKenna had moved in nine months earlier. He was part of the college welcome team and had made sure they knew where they were going.
It was unlikely that he would know McKenna well enough to inform her of the surprise, so she relaxed. But then she saw someone she definitely did know. And it wasn’t McKenna.
McKenna shared a lot of photos of her college experience, and Deanna would recognize the three girls gathered in the corridor anywhere.
“At least I know I’m getting close,” Deanna thought to herself as she kept her head down, quietly moved to the end of the corridor and hit the button on the elevator. But the elevator was on the top floor - and McKenna’s friends were on their way over.
The elevator doors opened and Deanna slipped inside, rapidly hitting the close door button before the group of girls was able to get there.
“Hold the elevator, please!” one of the girls called out. What could she do? She was either going to embarrass McKenna when she found out her mother wouldn’t hold the elevator for her friends, or ruin the surprise entirely. Then, a hand shot in front of the closing door.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there,” Deanna apologized, still trying to avoid eye contact.
“No problem,” one of the girls said cheerily. “It’s busy in the halls today.” Deanna was confident she’d gotten away with it. She counted the seconds as the elevator approached McKenna’s floor and she could escape. “Hey,” said a voice behind her as she made to step out the opening door. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
“I work in the cafeteria,” Deanna blurted out in a panic. It was the first thing she could think of. But the girl who asked looked unconvinced.
“That’s right,” said the girl behind her. They all smiled as Deanna turned to head towards McKenna’s room. “Oh,” the third girl interjected. “This is our floor too…”
The girls were almost certainly on their way to McKenna’s room, and Deanna was so disappointed to know she wouldn’t be able to knock on her door alone.
This was the longest amount of time that they had gone without seeing each other. She couldn’t wait to see her daughter’s face. But suddenly, the situation took an unexpected turn.
Turn For The Better
McKenna’s friends turned down the opposite corridor. They hadn’t recognized her and they must have been heading to their own room. “Of course, they’d live on the same floor!” Deanna thought to herself.
The mom smiled as she walked along the corridor. But when she reached McKenna’s door, she found something she wasn’t expecting.
Is Anyone There?
Deanna stood outside the door. She couldn’t wait to see her daughter’s reaction. She prepared herself for the surprise before knocking on the door - but there was no answer.
She knocked again, harder this time, and the door slowly opened. It wasn’t locked. Deanna pushed it a little more and peered inside. What she saw filled her with maternal dread.
Inside The Room
The mother thought it was weird that McKenna hadn't locked her door. She always kept her bedroom door locked at home.
But not only had she left her door open, McKenna was also nowhere to be seen. Where was her daughter? Had she needed to leave in a hurry? Deanna started to panic.
Where Is She?
McKenna’s room was completely empty. She had removed everything from the walls and all of her belongings were neatly packed in boxes. Was this what she had been calling back about?
“What was going on?” Deanna thought. The worried mom took out her phone to call McKenna, but then she looked over at the bed.
Deanna was exhausted after a long day of traveling. The only thing that was left in McKenna’s room was her bed that was still covered in blankets and pillows.
She thought to herself that it was a good idea to hang out until she returned. She decided to put down her bags, take off her shoes, and lay in her daughter’s bed. But she was about to wish she hadn’t.
Hard Not To Fall Asleep
Deanna then thought it was not a good idea if she fell asleep because she thought it would be a waste of a surprise. Instead, she came up with a better idea.
She was going to let her daughter know that she was on campus but in a classic "mom way."
Deanna took a selfie laying in McKenna’s bed, sprawled across with a smile slapped on her face. She knew that her daughter would be shocked that she flew all this way to see her.
And when McKenna replied, she was surprised, but not in the way that Deanna hoped.
After waiting a few minutes, finally, McKenna replied, asking her mom, “Where's that??” Deanna frowned at her phone. How did McKenna not recognize her very own bed?
Deanna pondered for a moment. Then suddenly, she received another text from McKenna. And when she read it, she felt stick to her stomach.
Was This A Joke?
McKenna sent another text, “I’m in my dorm. Please tell me you’re not in someone else’s dorm.” Deanna started to freak out. Her eyes scanned the room she thought was her daughter's. How could this be possible?
If this wasn’t her daughter's bed then whose was it? She heard footsteps and muffled conversation, and a shiver crept up her spine. She had to get out of the bed and make a run for it before it was too late.
Her Plan Backfired
Deanna bolted out of bed. If this wasn’t McKenna’s dorm, then where was she? She ran out of the room and halfway down the hallway. Deanna texted back, “I am in the wrong dorm omg.”
She made her way down the hall and back to the elevator, smashing the call button until the lift doors finally opened.
“I felt sick to my stomach because I’d already said hi to several people in the dorm and they probably have no idea who I was,” said McKenna’s mother.
Deanna then laughed and said, “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even look at the name of the building. I could be in the wrong building!”
It’s All OK
Thankfully, the room Deanna set foot in was a friend of McKenna’s who lived down the hall from her.
Deanna’s daughter found the whole situation so funny that she took to Twitter to post her Mom’s selfies and text messages. But the mother and daughter duo never expected what would happen next.
Is That My Pillow?
McKenna’s friend, the girl whose dorm Deanna had been in, didn’t know about the whole situation until a few days later.
“She commented on it and was like, ‘Is that my pillow?’” McKenna said. Right after, the tweet and photo went viral. The response shocked both Deanna and McKenna.
“I actually was laying in my own bed,” McKenna told Good Morning America. “I was just recovering from finals and all of a sudden I get this picture from my mom.
“She hardly ever sends selfies unless she’s trying to be cool, and when she sent me a selfie from someone else’s bed I was just in a panic.” But she had no idea how popular the story would be.
15 Minutes of Fame
McKenna said, “We weren’t expecting anything of it, I just thought friends and family would see it but now it’s completely gone everywhere.”
The college student said that her mom was always filled with surprises and this one was the funniest. Deanna, on the other hand, was not too keen about all of the attention.
A Funny Story
Even though it was a terrible mistake, Deanna was relieved that she had so many people laughing, including her daughter.
McKenna does have one issue though: “Every time I refresh my feed, more retweets and favorites pop up and now all my mom has to say is, ‘I wish I'd taken a better picture!’”
Deanna admitted she was the kind of mom that’s likely to embarrass her daughter at any opportunity. “I’m kind of a dorky mom,” she told TODAY.
She also admitted to forgetting to cut off tags when she bought new clothes, being terrible at modern technology, and had been lost more times than the now infamous dorm room selfie incident.
“Imagine ‘The Absent-Minded Professor,’” Deanna explained. “I’m a little bit like that, with a big heart. I get myself into weird situations sometimes, unknowingly.”
But her unintentional comedy took off, with a screenshot of the selfie attracting 35,000 likes on Twitter. Isn’t getting into embarrassing situations like this exactly what parents are for?