WHEN Joeli Lutumailagi left his Sigatoka home to attend a family function in Suva yesterday, he didn't have any idea of the surprise that awaited him.
But stepping out of the car, Lutumailagi with a smart grin on his face immediately knew he was in for a major surprise.
In fact what welcomed him to the gathering organised by his mum's family from Oneata was flashy camera lights and a bunch of kids running around trying to get a glimpse of their sevens hero.
Lutumailagi immediately knew this hero's welcome home would go down the memory lane as one of his finest moments.
"I wasn't expecting this. This is great and I'm really happy with the reception I got here tonight (last night)," soft-spoken Nadroga man said.
The maternal family of the Digicel Fiji 7s rover threw a party at family house in Wainivula in Caubati, outside Suva to acknowledge his achievement with the national side.
The night was made extra special with the presence of the Oneata cricket side which was in Suva for the LICI Cricket Fiji Easter Championship.
Lutumailagi is related to National Rugby League (NRL) star Jarryd Hayne. His older brother Jiuta is a former Fiji 7s player.
He plays for Nadroga in the provincial rugby competition and is a police officer based in Sigatoka.
Lutumailagi admires the burning pace of former national rep Marika Vunibaka and gets his inspiration from him.