(CBS) —  A Chicago area Naval Officer is now reunited with his two young daughters after a year and a half at sea.

The surprise involved a scavenger hunt that led the girls to a reunion with their dad, reports CBS 2’s Mike Parker, who was there.

First Class Petty Officer Aaron Haines, back home on leave after 18 months of naval duty in the Sea of Japan, waited anxiously Friday night at the Louis Joliet Mall.

“I can’t help but be nervous right now,” he admitted.

He was waiting to surprise daughters Erin and Maria. But first their stepmother and the children had to finish a “scavenger hunt” in the mall.

The girls collected eight clues, leading them to clue number 9. Dad was holding it at the end of the hunt.

There were shrieks of “Daddy, Daddy!” as the three ran to one another and embraced.  There were cheers from onlookers.

As he held the girls, Erin told him: “We got heavier because I’m 7 and she’s 8 now.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the mall.

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