Colors are around us every day but are something we take for granted. We were born with the ability to see them, and it’s hard to imagine life any other way. Sadly, there are 300 million people worldwide who do not have this same benefit; they are colorblind.
Not being able to distinguish colors creates challenges. Whether it be struggling to decipher stoplights, graphs in textbooks, or matching clothes— you wouldn’t notice how much you use color in our day-to-day life unless you lost the ability yourself.
(If you’re curious what the world would look like, watch the video below.)
A few years ago, Noel Stafford got a special present from his family.
The man from Lakeland, Florida, was celebrating his 66th birthday. His entire family— children, grandchildren, and siblings had gathered for the festivities and were waiting to give him a surprise. You see, Noel is colorblind, but today, his family has a present that will let him see true colors, after all.
The surprise was captured by a relative and uploaded to YouTube by Carson Stafford. Since then, Noel’s heartwarming reaction has been viewed 3.6 million times. In the video’s description, Carson wrote:
“My dad and his sisters all pitched in to give him [Noel] Enchroma glasses for his 66th birthday.”
In the video, you see Noel seated in a lawn chair, holding a cardboard box.
“Color for the color blind,” he reads on the label. “I am colorblind,” he adds with a laugh.
At this moment, a family member explains the premise behind the Enchroma glasses. For those who are unfamiliar, Enchroma glasses use special corrective lenses that allow colorblind people to see color for the first time. The company was co-founded by Don McPherson, and the glasses are designed to help with red-green colorblindness, in particular.
According to The Atlantic, McPherson developed the idea while he was working in optics, creating glasses for doctors performing laser surgery. The lenses had to protect the doctors’ eyes while also enhancing features like blood vessels.
In a fluke, he brought a pair to an Ultimate Frisbee game where a colorblind friend tried them on and could see the orange cones on the field for the first time. McPherson then improved the efficiency, creating the Enchroma glasses we know today.
When Noel tries on the Enchroma glasses, he’s overcome with emotion and immediately starts to cry.
He takes them off for a few moments before trying them on again. “It’s so clear. I can’t believe it,” he says observing the balloons before him. At one point, to comfort him, his daughter rushes to his side.
Noel’s in awe of the world around him as if seeing everything for the first time.
In another scene, you see him watching animated movies on TV, wearing a giant, childish grin. “Look at that!” he exclaims, noticing new details he’d never seen before. Interestingly, despite not being able to see colors, Noel has been working closely with them as a landscaper. Now, the cheerful senior gets more joy from his garden than he ever imagined before.
Noel’s sweet reaction has been viewed more than 3.6 million times.
Comments on the video read:
“Oh, the things we take for granted.”
“I couldn’t hold it in… I got so emotional.”
“It must feel like being born. No wonder the first thing he did was cry.”
See the emotional moment below.
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