Jacksonville restaurant reunites Marine with family just in time for the holidays

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A Jacksonville restaurant helped a local Marine reunite with his wife and children just in time for the holidays!

Staff Sargent Daniel Kulowiec, USMC, of Jacksonville wanted to do something special for his wife and children when he learned he was coming home for the holidays.

That’s where the Olive Garden of Jacksonville stepped in to give the family and him the homecoming of a lifetime. Sargent Kulowiec was able to surprise his wife and daughter by dressing as an Olive Garden server.

“I was absolutely honored that out of all the places in Jacksonville he chose to celebrate at the Olive Garden,” explained Brandi DeLoach, Olive Garden General Manager. “So we networked with him via e-mail since he’s across the country and we talked about it, we got involved, we had the opportunity to also communicate with some of his friends and family. We mostly did it via social media. So, social media played a huge part in making this surprise happen.”

Under the ruse that the restaurant was shooting a corporate training video, the whole heartwarming moment was captured on camera last week.

“It’s been five long months since I’ve seen my wife,” said Staff Sargent Daniel Kulowiec, USMC. “The initial plan was just to surprise her, just a basic, just surprise her at the restaurant. I contacted Olive Garden. And it was a snowball effect after that. Next thing you know, you have this huge plan.”

For her part, Kulowiec’s wife Megan said, “This is probably the best surprise ever in my life!”

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