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Ex-Angel Rex Hudler’s daughter drives to Kansas to surprise her brother on his birthday

Be epic.

That’s what she told herself.

These are weird times and people stopped fully living about three months ago. Alyssa Hudler, the 26-year-old daughter of former Angels announcer Rex Hudler, left her job as a fitness trainer, hunkered down in a house with relatives in Huntington Beach and just waited for the world to resume spinning. Her life was boring, just like everyone else’s during the coronavirus lockdown.

Then she got an idea, an epic idea, an epically awesome idea.

She would prank her family.

How far would you go to give your family something they will never forget? For Alyssa, that answer was about 1,300 miles.

Beginning June 3, Alyssa wore rubber gloves and a mask, endured a “janky” hotel, disgusting truck stop bathrooms and three days on the road across America to pull off the greatest birthday surprise her family has ever seen.

“That was one for the books,” she said with a satisfied laugh.

Elaborate plan

She’s going to law school at Arizona State University in the fall, she hopes (if everything reopens). She wants to be a sports agent. It’s only fitting as she’s from such a recognizable sports family. Her father played in the big leagues for 13 years, and he’s currently the color man on Kansas City Royals television broadcasts. She played softball at Beckman High School. Her younger brother, William, who turned 19 on June 6, is a baseball prospect.

“Maybe I’ll represent him someday,” she said.

When the shelter-in-place order hit, Alyssa was living with relatives in Huntington Beach, working at Orangetheory Fitness (which closed up shop) and biding her time until school starts in the fall.

“I got tired of the pandemic,” she said.

It was the first week of May when she got this idea. Without telling her family, she was going to drive 1,341 miles to Overland Park, Kansas where the “Hudfam,” as she calls them, lives. She would arrive the day before Will’s 19th birthday. (She chose that day because … who is expecting a birthday surprise the DAY BEFORE their birthday?)

Muhahaha. That’s a sinister laugh.

The more she thought, the more epic the plan became. There were lies to be told, and fake phone calls to be made. She had to turn off the GPS tracker on her phone so no one would know where she was.

The genius part of the plan was that she would make up a story for her mom, luring Jennifer Hudler in, without giving up the secret.

She told her mom and her youngest brother David that she was hiring an actor to dress up like a bulbous minion (from the “Despicable Me” movie franchise). This actor would perform a dance for Will in the family’s front yard for his birthday.

A dancing telegram.

The trick was, unbeknownst to her family, Alyssa would be inside the minion suit.



Travel challenges

She made a video of her trip.

It starts with her looking straight into the camera with a sly grin: “Let’s go surprise William for his birthday … This is about to be so good.”

She stopped in Las Vegas and walked on the completely empty Strip. She found a hotel in Salina, Utah, and made a reservation only after grilling them about their cleaning procedures.

At one point of her video excursion she announces, “I’ve tried to go to the bathroom at three different gas stations – all closed due to COVID-19 … LET’S TRAVEL DURING A PANDEMIC.”

She noticed something about Americans as she traveled. And something about herself.

“People did not have masks on,” she said. “I found out I’m a bit of a germophobe.”

She shot beautiful video footage of mountains in Nevada, Utah and Colorado. She passed by protests and wished she had time to march. But she had to get to Kansas.

Best family prank

She put on the minion suit a block away from the Hudfam house.

Once inside, she announced her arrival with a blow horn.

The Hudlers heard the horn inside their home. They came to the door with confused looks on their faces. They opened the door and saw a minion standing on their walkway. Jennifer and David thought it was an actor hired by Alyssa.

Then the music started. “Flute” by New World Sound and Thomas Newsom. “Birthday Song” by 2 Chainz. “Birthday Chick” by Trap Beckham. And “6 Feet Apart,” a new song by Luke Combs.

The minion was twerking all over the walkway. Then she approached the porch and grabbed Will’s hand. He was laughing when he joined her dancing. Still unaware what was about to happen.

Then the minion held up a sign “Love Actually” style: “Happy 19th. I’m sorry your sister couldn’t be here. But she wanted to give you something special.”

Suddenly, Alyssa unzipped the suit.

Her brother Cade leaped into her arms. Will fell to his knees. Jennifer started crying. Rex’s bellowing laugh could be heard from the doorway.

“It was insane,” said Will, who shared a long, tearful hug with his sister. “This was the best birthday present I could have ever wanted.”

Rex was impressed. “This is the best Hudler family prank of all time,” he said. “It was like a mirage, like a dream.”

Alyssa got them all.


It was epic.

When it was over, when the surprise had been sprung, Jennifer Hudler cornered her daughter and wondered: Should an outsider from California even be allowed in the house out of fear of spreading the coronavirus?

Of course she should. She’s now living there until school starts.



Source: Orange County Register

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