MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a special day for James Gardner.

The 77-year-old was released from Jackson South Medical Center on Thursday after recovering from COVID-19.

James and his wife Maggie contracted the virus back in July.

He started suffering severe symptoms almost right away, so Maggie took him to an urgent care.

But when he got home, his symptoms turned for the worse, forcing Maggie to call fire rescue.

James was he was taken to Jackson South Medical Center, where he spent several days in the intensive care unit before beginning his long hospital stay.

Thursday marks the first time James will be see his wife and three adopted children in a month.

But what made it even more special was the surprise that his wife Maggie had in store for him as he got out.

Watch Photojournalist Peter Miranda’s photo essay in the video player above for the rest of their story.