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Firefighter gets emotional when he sees American flag’s colors for the 1st time
Spencer Caradine had never seen the flag's bright colors until he put on the color blind glasses. The sight had him fighting back tears.
Elijah Chan
09.24.21

A firefighter had been seeing the world in a different hue, but thanks to a close friend, colors poured into his life.

22-year-old firefighter Spencer Caradine of Dallas, Georgia had no idea he was seeing the world through a different lens. He had always thought the colors he knew were the same that his friends and colleagues saw.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

His good friend and roommate, firefighter Jordan Gardner was one of the first people to realize Caradine’s color blindness.

They were on a hike one December and as they were enjoying the sights and the sounds, Gardner started pointing out things of interest in the scenery.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

“When we were on the hike I was trying to point stuff out. I would stop at all these places and look out at everything,” Gardner said to Inside Edition and added that he loved appreciating things during these kinds of trips.

Flickr - saragoldsmith
Source:
Flickr - saragoldsmith

Nature in itself is full of vibrant colors splashed on different trees, plants, animals, and other features. So when they weren’t getting the same enthusiasm or reaction from Caradine, Gardner began to suspect that something was wrong.

They concluded that Caradine was missing their visual cues because he couldn’t identify which color was on which thing.

Gardner, not wanting to leave his friend in a world with less color, decided to get his friend a pair of EnChroma glasses.

YouTube Screenshot - Tech Insider
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Tech Insider

Since Gardner wanted to surprise his good friend, he had to be more discreet on how to get him the correct pair. They spent the next several months doing different colorblind tests so they could identify what kind of blindness Caradine has. All of those tests were under the pretense that they were just helping Caradine learn more about his condition.

His efforts were not unnoticed though and by the time he placed the order, many of their colleagues wanted to pitch into the gift.

The first thing Gardner wanted Caradine to see? The colors of the American flag.

Flickr - Mike Mozart
Source:
Flickr - Mike Mozart

“I didn’t know how to explain why we had a 6-foot-by-10-foot American flag hanging off the side of the engine,” he said to Inside Edition. “I was like, ‘This is your first Fourth of July at the station. We’re having a big breakfast, that’s just what we do at the firehouse.”

Convinced of Gardner’s sneaky excuse, they all celebrated inside the station.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

When the time finally came to break the surprise, they invited Caradine to the front and presented him with the new pair of glasses. They led him out to the courtyard and in front of the flag, then asked him to finally open his eyes.

The two of them were overcome with emotion.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

Caradine never knew he was seeing the world in a dulled vibrancy, but thankfully, he didn’t have to endure it any longer.

“We got him five coloring books, couple hundreds of pencil crayons. We color on shift just so he can learn his colors,” Gardner told the outlet. “It’s like I’m a proud dad; our fridge at the house is covered in all these coloring papers.”

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

The duo has since watched fireworks, gone to an aquarium, and went back to the hiking route where it all started. But this time, Caradine was experiencing them in full color.

You can watch the firefighter’s emotional reaction for yourself in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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