Deanna Pilling was McKenna Pilling’s mother, and she thought it would be nice to surprise her daughter at college – without her knowing. However, Denna’s creative idea ended up taking a totally wrong turn. Now both Denna and her daughter regret her ever making that decision.

An unbreakable relationship

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Denna and her daughter McKenna had a close mother-daughter relationship. However, when it was time for McKenna to fly the nest for her university, Denna was shocked to learn that her New Yorker daughter decided that she wanted to go to Utah Sate University. She was heartbroken when he realised McKenna would be living so far away from home.

Planning the surprise

Credit: @mckenna_larsen via Twitter

The day before McKenna planned to return to her New York home for summer, Deanna decided to plan something special for her, and surprise her at her college. But Denna would soon learn that surprising her kid at college was a terrible idea…

Flying to Utah

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Denna thought it would be a great idea to pop into McKenna’s college to help her pack up her dorm a day earlier without telling her. What she didn’t do was tell her that her mother was about to surprise her. I mean, who doesn’t like a surprise from their mum? So Deanna booked a plane ticket from New York to Utah… but she had no idea what she was about to get!


Credit: Utah Public Radio

After 5 hours of flying, Denna landed in Logan, Utah. She quickly got a cab and headed to the Utah State University, where McKenna had been staying. Then, McKenna randomly started calling her mum on the phone. Trying not to ruin the surprise, Denna refused to answer the call. Everything seemed to go be going to plan, until…

Visiting campus

Credit: Utah State University

9 months had passed since McKenna had moved to university in the fall semester, with the help of her mother Denna. Since the time had been so long, when Denna arrived on campus she felt a little lost. She tried her very best to remember where her daughter’s room was.

Keeping her eyes alert

Credit: Utah System of Higher Education

As all campuses are, Utah’s campus was bustling with students who were also trying to move out for the summer. Deanna, trying not to ruin the surprise, looked around cautiously as an attempt to not be spotted by any familiar faces before reaching her daughter’s dorm room.

Finally found it!

Credit: The Utah Statesman

After wandering around for quite some time, Deanna finally found her bearings and found her daughter’s dorm. She was relieved by this point as she recognized some of McKenna’s friends in the building. She had seen these friends all over McKenna’s social media posts. However, this is where everything began to go wrong.

Entering now

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Deanna went up to McKenna’s floor and knocked on the door, anticipating her to answer the door in shock, but, surprisingly, no one answered! However, when she jiggled the door handle, the door luckily opened. Deanna walked in nervously and excitedly not knowing what she would find…

Daughter’s not there

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Deanna saw a few girls packing up their things inside, she waved hello to them and then walked into McKenna’s room. McKenna’s room was spotless! All her belongings were neatly packed in boxes and a comfortable bed that was covered in blankets and pillows.

Upgrading her plan

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After a long day of travelling, Deanna became increasingly tired – rightfully so! So, she decided to take a rest on McKenna’s bed while she waited for her girl to come home. She tried her best not to fall asleep because she believed it would be a waste of a surprise if she did. Instead, she came up with the brilliant idea of letting McKenna know that she had arrived at her campus… but in a classic ‘mom’ way.