This Mom’s Surprise Trip To See Her Daughter Takes An Unexpected Turn

It was the end of McKenna’s first year at Utah State University, and Deanna Pilling wanted nothing more than to surprise her daughter a day early. So, without hesitation, the eager mom booked a flight from New York to Logan, Utah.

After arriving at campus, Deanna found McKenna’s dorm, but it was empty. So, she decided to take a selfie in her daughter’s bed, letting her know that she was in Utah. What happened next, no one saw coming.

Deanna Pilling Wanted To Surprise Her Daughter

Deanna Pilling Wanted To Surprise Her Daughter
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

All Deanna Pilling wanted to do was surprise her daughter, McKenna, at college. She was scheduled to meet up with her daughter a day later, but the enthusiastic mom who was missing her child thought it would be a good idea to show up a day early.

We understand the gesture is from a good place. But the mom must have known that nothing good could come from showing up at a university without your daughter knowing!

They Have A Close Relationship

They Have A Close Relationship
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Deanna and McKenna have a close relationship, something that they both treasure. So, when it came time for McKenna to pick a college to attend after graduation, Deanna was shocked to hear she wanted to leave New York and go to Utah State University.

But, as all parents do, Deanna had to let her daughter leave the nest and be her own person. Not to say she wasn’t excited for McKenna to start this new chapter, but she was going to miss seeing her each day.

Deanna Wanted To Do Something Nice For Her Daughter

Deanna Wanted To Do Something Nice For Her Daughter
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

After having her daughter away all year, Deanna thought it would be a nice surprise to visit Utah before McKenna traveled back to New York for her summer break. It would have been a nice gesture, had Deanna told her daughter of her arrival.

The new college mom was about to learn that it is not a good idea to show up to her daughter’s dorm without an invitation. Keep reading; you’re not going to want to miss what happens next.

She Booked A Last Minute Flight

She Booked A Last Minute Flight
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

With her mind made up, Deanna booked a plane ticket out to Utah the day before McKenna was planning on heading home. The only issue was that’s typically the day college kids hang out with their friends and pack up dorm rooms.

It didn’t seem as though Deanna thought about that, though. Her eyes set on seeing her daughter as soon as possible. Little did McKenna know, but her mom was about to touch down in Utah.

Deanna Called Her Daughter But There Was No Answer

Deanna Called Her Daughter But There Was No Answer
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Before boarding the flight, Deanna decided it would be a good idea to call her daughter to see what her plans were for the evening. Her hopes were that McKenna’s schedule was empty so they could spend some time together.

But McKenna didn’t answer, and the flight was boarding. So, without any knowledge of what her daughter was up to that day, Deanna boarded the flight and was taking off to Utah.

A Five Hour Flight Later She Touched Down In Utah

A Five Hour Flight Later She Touched Down In Utah
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Five hours later, Deanna touched down in Logan, Utah. To say she was excited to see her daughter would be an understatement. Deanna couldn’t wait to see McKenna’s face when she realized her mom was standing in front of her.

So, without further delay, Deanna hailed a cab and set off towards Utah State University. Then, something unexpected happened. Deanna’s phone began to ring. Unsurprisingly, it was her daughter calling her back.

Deanna Declined The Phone Call

Deanna Declined The Phone Call
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Panicking, Deanna actually declined the phone call. See, she was never good at lying to McKenna, and she didn’t want her daughter to catch on to her plan. This was going to be a surprise whether she liked it or not!

With that thought in mind, Deanna put her cellphone away. Now, it was just a matter of time before the cab reached campus. Once they reached their destination, Deanna was going to have to figure out a way to get to McKenna.

She Didn’t Remember Where Her Daughter’s Dorm Was

She Didn't Remember Where Her Daughter's Dorm Was
KLC.com/Pinterest
KLC.com/Pinterest

The only issue was that the only time Deanna had been to campus was when she originally dropped off her daughter. That was nine months ago in the fall! Now, here she was, a lost mom trying to remember the name of her daughter’s dorm.

To say she was walking in circles would be an understatement. Deanna honestly had no idea where she should be going. Maybe it would be a smart idea to call McKenna?

She Was Getting Overwhelmed

She Was Getting Overwhelmed
Arllia/Pinterest
Arllia/Pinterest

It was the end of the school year, so the campus was full of students moving out of their on-campus housing and parents there to help. With all of the people milling about, on top of being lost, Deanna was getting very overwhelmed.

Not to mention the campus is a lot bigger than she remembered from when she dropped McKenna off in the fall. Deanna was at a loss and really didn’t know how to find her daughter’s dorm.

Still, Deanna Wanted To Keep A Low Profile

Still, Deanna Wanted To Keep A Low Profile
Jamie Cudney Boyd/Pinterest
Jamie Cudney Boyd/Pinterest

With no knowledge of which dorm her daughter stayed in, asking for directions was out of the question. Even so, Deanna wanted to keep her head down in case one of McKenna’s friends recognized her from pictures. So, not asking for directions was probably for the best.

But that put Deanna back at square one: lost. Maybe walking around would help spark something in her memory. So, she started to trek around campus.

She Found It

She Found It
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

After wandering around for a little while, Deanna finally stumbled upon McKenna’s dorm! She even spotted a few of her daughter’s friends chatting outside of the doors. Their faces had been all over McKenna’s social media, so this had to be the correct building.

Deanna let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She was so happy that she was at least able to find the dorm without too much trouble.

Time To Make An Entrance!

Time To Make An Entrance!
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Without missing another beat, Deanna walked up to the dorm, through the doors, and took the elevator up to McKenna’s floor. When she got to her daughter’s door, she knocked. But something happened.

There was no sound coming from behind the door, and no one came up to answer. Now, Deanna was in another pickle. She couldn’t just stand outside of the door, waiting for her daughter or roommate to show up. A decision had to be made.

She Made A Bold Decision

She Made A Bold Decision
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

What Deanna did next was a bold move. Once she realized no one was going to let her in, she decided not to stand out in the hall. So, Deanna jiggled the doorknob. It was then that she realized the dorm’s door was actually unlocked.

Make no mistake, Deanna thought it was very strange that her daughter didn’t lock her room door. But she decided not to dwell on it too much and let herself in.

McKenna’s Room Was Empty

McKenna's Room Was Empty
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Deanna chose to let herself into the suite-style dorm room. When she walked in, she noticed a few girls were actually inside packing up their things. Strange that they didn’t hear the door, but Deanna didn’t overthink it.

So, she waved at the girls and let herself into McKenna’s room, thinking that maybe she didn’t hear the knock on the door either. But when she walked into her room, Deanna was the one that got a surprise.

Deanna Wasn’t Sure What To Do

Deanna Wasn't Sure What To Do
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

After letting herself into the dorm as well as her daughter’s room, Deanna was surprised to see her daughter’s room empty. All of her roommates were up here packing to leave for the summer, so where on Earth could her daughter be?

Deanna started second-guessing her decision to surprise her daughter a day early. She probably had plans with other friends. And why wouldn’t she? McKenna is in college, after all. She’d want to have this last day before the summer break.

Everything Was Packed Up

Everything Was Packed Up
pruplerollerskates/Pinterst
pruplerollerskates/Pinterst

After looking around her daughter’s room, it was obvious as to why she wasn’t here with her roommates. It looked as though McKenna had already finished packing everything up. All of her photos were taken off the walls, clothing was in suitcases, and trinkets were packed away neatly in boxes.

Everything was organized and in its place. Well, everything but her daughter. Deanna still had no idea where she could be. And with no knowledge of the cool hangout spots, she was at a loss.

Deanna Was Exhausted

Deanna Was Exhausted
Sadye/Pinterest
Sadye/Pinterest

Deanna was physically and emotionally exhausted. She had been traveling all day. Then, when she finally made it to campus she realized she had no idea where to go. It was taxing, to say the least.

Thankfully, the one thing that was left untouched in McKenna’s room was her bed. All of the sheets were still there along with the pillow. So, Deanna kicked off her shoes and made herself comfortable on top of the mattress.

Deanna Didn’t Want To Fall Asleep

Deanna Didn't Want To Fall Asleep
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

The only issue with lying down in bed was that Deanna didn’t want to fall asleep. She thought if she closed her eyes, it would ruin the surprise. What if her daughter walked in while she was taking her little cat nap?

That would be a waste of a perfectly good mother/daughter moment. So, she decided to spill the beans to McKenna that she was on campus. But a simple phone call was way too easy for this cool mom.

Deanna Took A Selfie

Deanna Took A Selfie
@kennapilling/Twitter
@kennapilling/Twitter

Deanna thought it would be hysterical to take a selfie lying in her daughter’s bed. Who needs a phone call or text when there is a camera readily available for this exact purpose? So, putting her happy face on, Deanna sent McKenna a picture of her lying in bed.

It was going to warm McKenna’s heart, knowing her mother traveled all this way to see her, even though she was headed back to New York the next day.

McKenna’s Response Was Not What Deanna Expected

McKenna's Response Was Not What Deanna Expected
@kennapilling/Twitter
@kennapilling/Twitter

After waiting a few minutes for a reply, McKenna finally answered her mom’s selfie message. But her response was far from the reaction Deanna was hoping for. McKenna texted her mom back, asking, “Where that?” So, obviously, Deanna was confused. Did her daughter not recognize her own bed?

Then another message from her daughter came through, “I’m in my dorm. Please tell me you’re not in someone else’s dorm.” Needless to say, Deanna started to panic.

Deanna Was In The Wrong Dorm

Deanna Was In The Wrong Dorm
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Deanna bolted out of the bed as if it were on fire. She was in the wrong dorm; how did she manage to do that? Thankfully, the girl whose room is was didn’t come in during Deanna’s little photo shoot on the bed. That would have been very hard to explain to the school!

For now, she quickly left the dorm, texting her daughter, “I am in the wrong dorm omg,” and laughing the entire time.

She Laughed It Off

She Laughed It Off
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Later, when talking about the incident, Deanna said, “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. I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even look at the name of the building. I could be in the wrong building!'”

Thankfully, she didn’t get in trouble and is now laughing the entire episode off as a silly mistake. The good news is that McKenna was definitely surprised!

Deanna Wasn’t Too Far From McKenna’s Room

Deanna Wasn't Too Far From McKenna's Room
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Deanna wasn’t too far off her mark, though. She was actually in the correct dorm, and on the right floor, she just got the room wrong. As it turned out, Deanna stumbled into one of McKenna’s friend’s rooms. So, even if she did get caught, it would haven’t been too embarrassing (right?).

Regardless, McKenna thought the entire situation was beyond funny. She even took her mom’s selfie and posted it to Twitter along with their funny text exchange.

The Tweet Went Viral

The Tweet Went Viral
Bambus/Youtube
Bambus/Youtube

The whole situation was comical. And now Deanna’s funny mistake was showcased on social media for all to see. So, it wasn’t too surprising when McKenna’s friend commented on the Twitter post, saying, “It that my pillow?”

Right after the comment was posted, the tweet went viral. Neither McKenna or her mom ever thought the silly mistake would ever amount to viral news. But here they were, taking the internet world by storm.

McKenna Loved The Attention

McKenna Loved The Attention
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

McKenna has said that her mom had always been one for a good surprise, but this one was hands down one of the funniest. And while the college student was enjoying the attention her tweet brought, Deanna wasn’t exactly appreciative of it.

McKenna said, “We weren’t expecting anything of it, I just thought friends and family would see it but now it’s completely gone everywhere.” Well, now the tweet is out there and a lot of people know what happened in the dorm room.

Deanna Just Wishes She Took A Better Picture

Deanna Just Wishes She Took A Better Picture
larsen.mckenna/Instagram
larsen.mckenna/Instagram

Even though the selfie was just a silly mistake, and she wasn’t exactly enjoying the attention, Deanna was happy that her antics were making people laugh, including her daughter. At the end of the day, she just wants her daughter to be happy. But McKenna does have one issue with the viral tweet.

She’s said, “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!'”