Since it's our 13th season, we took the number 13 and made it lucky by giving 13 of our viewers surprises of a lifetime!
For our latest surprise, we couldn't think of anyone more worthy than former combat marine and firefighter Rick from Palmer, Massachusetts. He belongs to a military family and his wife of 26 years, Tina, wrote in to us about her husband and his story.
After 17 years as a firefighter, Rick had to retire from the fire department for medical reasons. Unfortunately, Rick was diagnosed with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from his time in combat. After years of working, Rick was home by himself and he wasn't sure what to do.
That's when Rick found our show.
"I get up, I watch the news, and then I watch Rachael Ray," Rick says. "Then I got to the store and buy the ingredients [and] cook [Rachael's] meal."
Rick has a passion for cooking and that's why he follows our gal so closely! How sweet.
Once Tina wrote to Rachael about Rick, Rach knew she had to give him a call. She rang him up to surprise him and invite him to come to a taping for a meal.
So, of course, Rick had to be one of our Lucky 13 viewers. And we had to think of a super duper treat for him!
So we surprised him with his lovely daughter Hailee who is currently serving in the Air Force overseas. That's right, after a year away, she surprised her parents right in our studio!
Watch the heartwarming moment in the video above.
But that's not all! As Rachael served the family her Carbonara Frittata with Ricotta and Mixed Lettuce Salad with Fennel, she announced that we were sending Tina, Rick and their lovely dog on a nine-day trip to California. They will be visiting California's coast with stops in San Francisco, Wine Country, Yosemite National Park and Los Angeles. How AMAZING!
We thank Rick and his entire family for their service and hope they have a wonderful time on their trip. ❤️