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Tears of Joy: Michigan College Graduate Gets Emotional After Deployed Brother Surprises Her at Graduation

LyDyra Lyte, 23, received a graduation present she won’t soon forget as, her brother, who is on deployment, made a shocking surprise return home to see his sister graduate at her commencement ceremony on May 7.

LyDyra Lyte of Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, is still filled with emotion after her brother, LaDaryl Lyte, 22, returned home from deployment with the Michigan Army National Guard, to see his sister graduate from Central Michigan University.  

LaDyra Lyte, a fashion, interior design and merchandising major says she felt her graduation would not be complete without her brother in attendance.

“I was like really irritated because like, I was texting my brother like, if you don’t show up, you know, I’m really mad at you, get ready to be blocked, I was just being really stubborn that morning, and then of course running late so that kind of messed up my attitude a little bit,” LaDyra Lyte said.

LyDyra says she and her brother, who is 11 months her junior, are very close, and LaDaryl missed her high school graduation because he had just begun his basic training at 17 years old. “My brother, he missed my high school graduation, and me and him are very close-knit, so it was like, I really wanted him there, I attend all of his events, he attends all of mine or tries to,” LyDyra said.

Unbeknownst to his sister, LaDaryl was already concocting a plan to give her a surprise of a lifetime. LaDaryl says he’s been in the service for about 4-years and despite his deployment, he asked for leave time to surprise his sister and it was approved.

“I emailed the school and I was asking for a ticket and I told them if it was sold out I was willing to pay for a seat if I had to, then I’d say the week of, they emailed me again they said the president usually tells stories about the graduates at the ceremony, and he would like to include me and my sister in the program,” LaDaryl Lyte said of how he worked behind the scenes with CMU staff to arrange the surprise.

LaDaryl returned from deployment two days earlier without anyone knowing, except his mom whom he surprised after sending a package to her home with his name on it.

“A few days earlier when I flew home, I surprised my mom, I told her I was waiting on an Amazon package, and as soon as I got there, I called and said, yeah, they said the package was delivered about five minutes ago, and as soon as she opened the door I just jumped out from behind the bush,” LaDaryl Lyte said.

Despite being startled, LaDyra and LaDaryl’s mom, Alisha Lyte says she swore secrecy she wouldn’t tell anyone he was home.

As the moment drew near, LaDaryl says his nerves grew to a fever pitch, “I was shaking, it was crazy,” he said.

CMU President Robert Davies, commanded the microphone calling graduates up to the stage and as he got to LaDyra, he started reading a letter written by LaDaryl.

“I kind of blanked out because as soon as I realized it was a letter from my brother, I started crying,” LaDyra said of the emotional moment.

“The part where he goes, she knows exactly how to get through, she has a master talent of how to get through or something along those lines, because literally, my brother has literally been there for me through my ups and my downs so just hearing that come from him, it was kind of like reassurance to me that you know, I am on the right path, I am doing what I need to do,” she said.

By this time, LaDaryl’s anxiousness got the best of him, as he could no longer wait, hidden in the back of the room to embrace his sister on her big day.

“I kept asking the lady who was escorting me, can I go up now, can I go up now? She just kept telling me to wait and finally, I’m like, you know what, I’m not waiting anymore, and I started walking,” said LaDaryl as he marched to his sister standing in the aisle to a growing applause from spectators watching the special moment for the siblings.

LaDyra and LaDaryl’s father rushed toward them and embraced his children because he also didn’t know LaDaryl was coming home.

“My dad was really excited. Like I said, he really didn’t know either. Like, my dad is always excited to see my brother. Like, every single time they get to see each other it’s like crazy, especially because my dad lives in Indianapolis, so he really doesn’t get to see my brother,” LaDyra said of the special moment.

The magical moment for the Lyte family was captured by onlookers and struck social media gold. Video of the surprise return went viral, shocking everyone.

“All my friends kept calling me like, ‘Girl you’re going viral,’ and I’m like, ‘Huh, what are y’all talking about,’ so it’s just been funny,” LaDyra Lyte said of her viral video.

Although the moment her brother surprised her will not be forgotten, LaDyra says she’s already thinking of her immediate future which includes graduate school.

“Right now, I’m just looking for a job, in between me going to graduate school, I am planning on going to graduate school, I’m looking for funding opportunities so you know, I don’t have to pay, but other than that, I’m just building my brand, building my career, trying to gain more exposure, so that I can launch everything that I need to launch for the next season,” the recent CMU graduate said.

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