May 26, 2014 at 8:50 AM ET
Air Force First Lieutenant Nate Lowman and his wife Cindy have shared a love of cars since their first date at an autocross competition.
"I wanted to make sure she understood that if we were going to get together, this was something that I loved to do," Lowman told TODAY.
As it turned out, a passion for cars ran through both their families.
"She rebuilt her '69 Cutlass convertible with her dad and had been around cars pretty much her whole life," Lowman remembered.
The couple's love for cars turned into a love for each other, and they've now been married for 11 years and are parents to daughter Teagan.
But much of their life together has been spent oceans apart, as Lowman's military job has taken him to Europe and the Middle East over his past 18 years of service. Last October, he deployed to Southeast Asia, where he's since been stationed.
So Cindy and Teagan weren't expecting to run into him when they went to take part in a Corvette driving course, furnished by Chevrolet in Las Vegas. What they didn't know was that he was a step ahead, plotting a sweet surprise.
"I keep looking at the end goal and knowing the surprise that she's going to have and knowing the surprise that my daughter's going to have," Lowman said.
When his wife and daughter arrived at the course, a member of the crew introduced them to their instructors, including a disguised Lowman.
The crew member then introduced mother and daughter to "the newest instructor...Nate!"
"Daddy!" Teagan yelled, jumping into his arms.
A surprised Cindy couldn't believe her husband was in front of her: "All right, you got me!"
Lowman, now done with his deployment, can't wait to spend this Memorial Day with his family that he loves.