The Washington Post

Watch this Army dad surprise his daughter at Columbia’s graduation

U.S. Army Capt. Keith Robinson, currently stationed in Afghanistan, caught a last minute flight to the United States to surprise his daughter, Ruby Robinson, as she graduated from Columbia University's School of Engineering. (Columbia University)

[This post has been updated.]

There are parents, and then there are parents who will fly across the world on a moment’s notice to make it to their child’s graduation.

This is the story of one such parent, Army Reserve Captain Keith Robinson, who is currently stationed in Northern Afghanistan.

Back home, his daughter Ruby Robinson was about to graduate from the Columbia’s Engineering School and she knew her father couldn’t make it.

“I really didn’t expect him to be there, and I was kind of upset about that, but I knew he had other duties to do in Afghanistan,” Ruby said, according to a video posted online by Columbia University’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

But within the last week, with the help of his general, he was able to get on a last minute flight back to the U.S.

“Every stop along the way they were like, can you leave in 15 minutes?” said Keith Robinson. “And I was like oh yeah, oh yeah I can leave in 15 minutes.”

A 14.5-hour flight from Kuwait to D.C., then another 3.5-hour flight to Denver, and a third flight to New York City got him to the graduation ceremony just in time.

Thanks to Columbia University, which filmed the whole thing, you can see the moment Robinson surprised her, flowers in hand. (h/t:

Abby Phillip is a national political reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at On Twitter: @abbydphillip
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