It was a birthday to remember for 13-year-old Rory Beth Blankenship.
The Oklahoma teen’s eyes were covered by two blindfolds for the ultimate surprise: being reunited with her father, James, after 12 years apart. “We had actually met the night before at a restaurant and talked over the details of where we would go and how we would pull it off,” Rory Beth’s mother, Amanda, told InsideEdition.com Wednesday. A video shows Amanda leading her blindfolded daughter out of their van and guiding her across the parking lot of Broken Arrow Lanes in Broken Arrow. Little did she know, her father was on the sidewalk holding a birthday cake that read, “Happy Birthday Rory Beth, Love Dad.” When the teen slowly pulled down her blindfolds, she was dumbfounded. Both father and daughter stood silently looking at each other until James finally walked over and hugged her.James only broke their embrace to look at his daughter and hold her face.
“There were definitely lots of tears from myself, her siblings, and even a few bystanders,” Amanda told Caters News, which shared the footage. James, a truck driver who spent a lot of time on the road, and Amanda split when Rory Beth was a baby. “It was hard to figure out how to make it work,” Amanda said. Amanda felt Rory Beth was now old enough to understand and to ask any questions she may have.
The birthday surprise was on June 4, and the father and daughter have seen each other again since, even celebrating Father’s Day together.
Amanda says her daughter and James are both ecstatic to be reunited.
“She’s already calling him ‘daddy’ and tells him that she loves him,” Amanda said. “They’re both very committed.”