Deanna Pilling had what she thought would be a good idea: she wanted to surprise her daughter at university the day before her daughter, McKenna, was scheduled to arrive to visit her in New York. Although her intentions may have been sweet, do college students really want to be surprised by their parents.
The answer is no. Naturally, this well-meaning mom’s “good” idea quickly took a turn for the worse.
Deanna and McKenna had always been close. But when McKenna had completed school and it was time for her to decide which university to attend, Deanna was taken aback when she found out that her New York daughter had her heart set on Utah State University.
Deanna was shattered at the thought of her daughter being so far away while she studied. Nevertheless, she eventually came to terms with her daughter’s decision. She knew that it was time for her McKenna to leave the nest, and she resolved to support her.
After months without seeing her mother, McKenna was finally scheduled to head back to New York for the summer to spend some time with her family. In fact, she was scheduled to leave the very next day.
That’s when Deanna decided to put her ill-fated plan into action. She wanted to surprise her daughter at her college. Little did Deanna know, this terrible idea would have far-reaching consequences for everyone involved.
Deanna thought that showing up a day before McKenna was about to leave would be a wonderful surprise, so she didn’t breath a word of her plan to her daughter.
And who wouldn’t want a surprise visit from their mom, right?
So, without telling McKenna a word, Deanna was all set.
She had found a last-minute flight from New York City to Utah, and she was brimming with excitement. But when she booked her flight, she had no idea what kind of surprise was waiting for her in Utah.
While she was waiting to board her flight, the unsuspecting mom even tried to call McKenna to ask her what her plans were for the night. Unfortunately for the well-meaning mom, McKenna didn’t answer.
As Deanna finally stepped onto the plane, she only hoped that her daughter would be there when she arrived. Perhaps she hadn’t thought this through. But it was too late to change her mind now.
After a five-hour trip, Deanna landed safely in Logan, Utah.
She hailed a cab and braced herself for the final leg of her trip to the Utah State University. Then, her phone began to ring.
Seeing that McKenna was calling her back, Deanna began to panic.
She didn’t want to ruin the surprise and she was worried that her daughter would know something was up when she heard her voice. She quickly declined the call. The last thing the anxious mom wanted was for McKenna to suspect that she was planning something.
Deanna’s last visit to the campus was nine months ago when she had helped McKenna move in and get settled.
Seeing the enormous building for only the second time made her feel lost and disoriented. Would she be able to remember where her daughter’s dorm was?
It was busy on the campus, with students moving out for the summer with the help of their families. Deanne shuffled through the throng of people, keeping her eyes lowered so that no one would recognize her.
To her dismay, the university was much larger than she remembered. She began to feel overwhelmed.
Making her way to her daughter’s room, she was careful to make sure she wasn’t spotted by anyone who could give the surprise away.
She kept an eye out for McKenna’s friends as she navigated around the campus, searching the crowds for familiar faces.
After she had wandered around aimlessly for some time, she finally found her daughter’s building. Walking through the rabbit-warren of hallways, Deanne spotted some of McKenna’s friends, who she recognized from Facebook.
she let out a sigh of relief. at least she knew for certain that she was in the right building.
Deanne took the elevator up to her daughter’s floor and looked around nervously.
It had been so long since she had seen McKenna — the longest time they had ever spent apart. She slowly walked up to McKenna’s dorm room and knocked on the door.
Deanna paused for a few seconds before knocking again, but there was still no answer. She couldn’t wait to see Mckenna’s face when she saw her standing there, she’d be so surprised.
She waited for a few more minutes, but then her heart started to sink. it was clear that there was nobody home.
Deanna jiggled the door handle and was surprised to see that the door wasn’t locked. She had told her daughter to keep her room locked at all times.
Frowning, she pushed it down and swung the door open. But she never could have expected what greeted her on the other side.
Deanne’s eyes first fell on a few girls inside the dorm, and she saw that they were packing up their things. She hastily waved ‘hello’ before going into McKenna’s room.
But it was completely empty. Had she somehow messed up the dates?
Deanna looked around the room and her eyes widened. It was absolutely spotless.
McKenna had taken all her posters, books, clothes and belongings. On the floor sat a pile of boxes, neatly lined up in a row.
Jetlagged and exhausted from her trip, this new disappointment was almost too much for Deanna to bear. She glanced over to the bed, which was made up invitingly — the only thing that was still intact in the room.
Maybe she could wait here for McKenna to return. She put her bags down and took the shoes off her aching feet. The freshly-made bed was just too tempting, so she decided to lie down.
Lying in a comfortable bed, Deanna’s eyes began to close. She shook herself awake.
It would ruin her surprise if she was sleeping when McKenna arrived. Then, she had a better idea. She decided to let her daughter know where she was — in her own cringe-worthy “mom” fashion.
Deanna, still lying on the bed, pulled out her phone and took a selfie.
She hoped that McKenna would be gobsmacked when she realized that her mom had flown all this way just to see her! But when McKenna replied, she didn’t react exactly the way Deanna had anticipated.
McKenna, confused, asked: “Where that??” Deanna frowned when she read the message. Did McKenna not recognize her own bed.
Then, McKenna’s next message made Deanna’s heart drop. it read: “I’m in my dorm. Please tell me you’re not in someone else’s dorm.” Deanna felt a warm flush spread on her face as the truth dawned on her.
The truth hit Deanna like a ton of bricks and she bolted upright. If McKenna said that she was in her dorm, then whose room was she in.
dashing out of the room before someone caught her, she sprinted down the hallway. Then she replied with: “I am in the wrong dorm omg.” She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at her terrible mistake.
“I felt sick to my stomach because I’ve already said ‘hi’ to several people in the dorm and they probably have no idea who I was,” Deanna explained later. Then, she let out a small laugh.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even look at the name of the building. I could be in the wrong building!”.
Later, Deanne found out that the room she’d been in was McKenna’s — just down the hall from her.
And McKenna’s reaction to her mother’s blunder was priceless. She thought the whole situation was so funny that she immediately took to Twitter to share her mom’s messages.
The girl whose dorm Deanna had brazenly broken into had no idea until a few days later when she saw McKenna’s Twitter post. “She commented on it and was like, ‘Is that my pillow?’” McKenna explained.
But as soon as McKenna had posted her mom’s mistake, people couldn’t get enough of it. Neither the mother or her daughter expected such an overwhelming response.
“We weren’t expecting anything of it, I just thought friends and family would see it but now it’s completely gone everywhere,” McKenna said.
She added that her mom was always planning surprises for her, but this one had been, by far, the funniest one. Deanna, on the other hand, was not so amused.
After her horrific blunder, Deanne was relieved that everyone was laughing — even if it was at her own expense.
Deanne does have one concern, 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 would’ve taken a better picture!’”.