Facebook photo of Sylvania veteran and niece goes viral - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Facebook photo of Sylvania veteran and niece goes viral

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Riley Riley
LYONS, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A surprise is coming to a little girl in Lyons, and it has gained a lot of attention on Facebook.

Colby Bradley, a retired officer of the U.S. Army now living in North Carolina, made a deal with his sister Tina that if she could get 1,000 likes on a picture of her daughter on Facebook, he would surprise his 6-year-old niece Riley with a visit to her school for Veterans Day.

"Tina took off running with this at full steam," Bradley said. "She was going to get her brother to come home. But she had no clue that I was planning on coming anyways."

Riley is in Kindergarten at Evergreen Elementary School in Lyons, OH, and the school puts on a lunch each year for students with any of their family members that are serving or have served in the military.

Riley doesn't know about the deal or the surprise, but she has seen her picture on her mom's Facebook, which has been shared more than 200 times and has nearly 500 likes so far.

"When it seemed as if her photo was not going to hit 1,000 likes, I let everyone know I was coming home regardless of how many likes a photo has," Bradley explained. "One should not do something because of how many likes a photo has on Facebook. But rather do something because it is kind, or the right thing to do...I did this to see that smile on that little girl's face when I come in to surprise her."

That's when we shared the photo on the WTOL Facebook page, and it quickly surpassed 1,000 likes - and then 10,000 likes!

Uncle Colby commented on his sister's photo, remembering when he surprised his family on his return from deployment in Afghanistan in 2010.

"The thing that shocked me the most that day, was little Riley," he said on Facebook. "She just turned 3. She hasn't seen me or Kyle for over 7 months. We were not home much. So how she remembered who I was blows my mind…One of my most priceless moments in my life."

Bradley, a Sylvania Southview graduate, served over five years in the Army, and made five trips to Afghanistan. Riley has another uncle, Kyle Bradley, who is currently in Afghanistan as an Army Airborne Ranger. Colby says he enlisted because "I could not let him go to war alone."

"The love and support we have received over the years has only made me more grateful of the people we have surrounded ourselves with," he said.

Keep the support going: Visit our Facebook page to like and share Riley's picture!

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