PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A hard-working mother’s sacrifices have not been lost on her young daughter. But when the 11-year-old girl wrote Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad, she was just as surprised as her mother to get treated to a mommy-daughter day-of-beauty.
"Sofia is in the fifth grade. She’s really sensitive," said Joanna, Sofia’s grandmother. "She helps. She’s really good. We were watching Channel 3 and I turn around and I told my granddaughter, you know what, that would be a good idea to do something for your mom, I said. She works so hard for her."
"Are you ready to go surprise Sofia?" asked 3TV’s April Warneke.
"Yes!" said Joanna.
Principal Casey Newman of Mañuel Pena Elementary School led Sofia’s family and Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to the girl’s classroom.
“Surprise!” shouted Warneke upon entering.
While excitement rippled through the classroom, Warneke addressed the group.
“I’m looking for Sofia,” said Warneke.
The embarrassed girl walked over to Warneke.
“Do you know why I’m here, Sofia?” Warneke asked after introducing herself.
The girl looked bewildered and shook her head.
“No?” asked Warneke. “Well my name is April. I’m from Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad. Now do you know why I’m here?”
“Yes,” said Sofia, prompting Warneke and Joanna to laugh.
“So, we have some flowers here that we are going to take to your mom today,” said Warneke. “Let’s go surprise her!”
“Goodbye, Sofia!” the class cheered as the crowd left.
The group traveled to the Target where Sofia’s mom works. Brittany, Store Director for Target, guided them to Sofia’s mother, Maria.
“Surprise!” they shouted.
“I nominated you for a surprise,” said Sofia.
Maria started to cry.
“Are you crying?” said Sofia. “Oh, no.”
“Don’t cry! It’s a good surprise,” said Warneke. After introducing herself, she explained that Sofia had nominated her because she thought her mother deserved a surprise.
“Thanks,” said Maria tearfully.
“She has flowers for you today and we also want to treat you today to a day of beauty by Beauty By Veronica because Sofia told us that you work hard, and you put other people first and so now it’s your turn,” said Warneke, also tearing up.
“Thank you so much,” said Maria.
“Don’t thank me,” said Warneke. “Thank Sofia because this is her idea.”
Mother and daughter cried in each other’s arms and told each other ‘I love you’.
“So, why don’t you get your purse and let’s go!” said Warneke. “We checked with your boss, it’s okay. Just like we checked with the Principal!”
Once the group traveled to the salon, Maria shared her life story with Warneke.
“I have two daughters. Sofia 11 and Georgina 17,” said Maria. “They’re really good girls.”
“How does it make you feel to know they’re noticing how hard you’re working for them?” asked Warneke.
“I figure, if I show them the right way, they’ll grow up to do the same for theirs, when they have kids,” said Maria. “Their well-being is more important than mine.”
The group walked into the salon and owner Veronica Amendola Penzone came out and personally greeted them. She had an extra surprise for Sofia.
“You’re going to be getting your hair and make-up, too!” said Veronica.
Sofia got a shampoo and styling while Maria got the works: cut, conditioning, highlights, ombre and balayage. Lela gave both the finishing touch with professional make-up application.
Sofia and Maria said they liked their fresh look and thanked Veronica.
“I know you didn’t expect to get made up today,” said Warneke after their transformation.
“What do you think?”
“I think she’s not going to put makeup on for a while,” said Maria to much laughter. “But she looks nice.”
“On behalf of Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers and Sofia, Happy Mother’s Day,” said Warneke handing Maria a pink box.
“One-thousand dollars,” said a tearful Maria, showing everyone what was in the box.
A stunned Sofia put her hand over her mouth.
“Thank you, guys,” said Maria. “Thank you, baby.”
Mother and daughter embraced.
Thanks to Mañuel Pena Elementary School and Target for helping coordinate this surprise and a special thank you to BBV/Beauty By Veronica for donating a day-of-beauty.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.