The parents of Scottish garage owner Adam Ennis were on holiday when he decided to pick up arms and fight alongside the Ukrainian Army.
And the first they knew of his decision to go to war was when he failed to pick them up from the airport when they returned home.
The 35-year-old, from Biggar, South Lanarkshire, is now embedded with a platoon of 50 men from all over the world, defending the streets of Kyiv.
His father Brian told BBC Scotland it was a shock to find out what he had done.
“It’s a hard thing to say because my wife and I were on holiday. We have a daughter who lives in Thailand and we were there for three months. Adam was due to pick us up at the airport.
“But his friend picked us up instead. His friend wasn’t going to say anything until Adam spoke to us.
“So we weren’t aware until he phoned us that evening. He was already in Ukraine at a camp.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned it would be counter-productive for anyone other than trained military personnel to go to the warzone.
And UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace later stressed that Britons should not put themselves in harm’s way, saying there were “better ways to contribute to the security of Ukraine”.
The Foreign Office website advises against travel to the area, and says: “If you travel to eastern Ukraine to fight, or to assist others engaged in the conflict, your activities may amount to offences against UK terrorism or other legislation and you could be prosecuted on your return to the UK.”
Adam has been putting himself in danger for the past two weeks to help Ukraine hold off the Russian invasion.
He has no military background, but his father Brian said he was not completely inexperienced.
“He is a fit boy and he has some rifle experience,” said Brian. “He’s a crack shot. There’s more to it. He knows how to handle weapons.
“The people who are with him have looked after him very well. They are all very experienced, and out of 200 people they picked 15 of them to be in this unit.
“He has plenty of international soldiers around him.”
Brian is worried sick about his son but he is also incredibly proud of him.
“As any parents, you never want to see a loved one in any danger, and it has caused us a lot of anxious nights.
“We are worried, but he has done it for the right reasons. He hasn’t done it for glory, he is not silly. He is a level-headed person and when he got there he said he had no regrets.”
‘Sprit and strength’
Adam has told his father he has seen “horrible things” but that the spirit, strength and gratitude of the Ukrainian people is humbling and makes him willing to overcome his fear.
Brian said: “The people are crying and hugging him when they learn where he has come from. He is in it for the long haul and said he couldn’t allow this evil regime to win in Ukraine because it will be Poland and other countries next. That was the last call we had from him.”
Local people in Biggar have started to fundraise to buy much-needed medical equipment for Ukraine. Adam wants people to get behind the campaign, set up by local woman, Polish immigrant Karolina Lukaska.
Karolina and her employers, the Crown Inn, have set up a crowdfunding page to buy bandages and dressings and bigger items like defibrillators.
The Ukraine government set up the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine (ILDU) on 27 February for foreign citizens who want to help the national military.
Officials at the country’s consulate in Edinburgh said their phones had been “ringing off the hook”.