Friends and family all know Bill Reed, from Batavia, New York, as a bit of a tough guy.
Reed is, after all, a bodybuilder … who looks like this:
He’s also a husband and father of two daughters, and seems to have a typical gruff dad sense of humor, which was on display at his 66th birthday party.
“Yeah, okay,” he mumbles as his family sings “Happy Birthday” to him.
When one relative jokingly starts to sing the “how old are you now” song, he quips back “I’m younger than you!”
But his family saw another side of him when they surprised him with a life-changing gift.
After the singing, his family points out that there’s one more gift to open sitting on the porch of their house.
After spending some time getting the box open, Bill finally gets to the present, and doesn’t think it’s anything out of the ordinary.
“They’re sunglasses,” a relative tells him.
Thinking they’re ordinary sunglasses, Bill puts them on … but is stunned when he realizes what they really are.
They’re Enchroma glasses that let him see color for the first time.
Bill has been colorblind his whole life. His family found out about these special glasses — which go for about $350 each — and all chipped in to finally give Bill the experience of seeing colors.
And, based on Bill’s reaction, they work like magic.
“Can you see with our eyes now, baby?” his wife Pam asks.
“The trees are green …” Bill says looking around, becoming emotional.
“I never saw that before.”
Bill is speechless and overjoyed. “It doesn’t look like mud!” he jokes. He hugs his wife.
“They don’t even look real,” he says about the trees. “They look 3D.”
His family points out that it’s just like Dorothy entering Oz.
“You’re not in Kansas anymore, baby,” his wife jokes.
His family was moved to tears by his reaction — made even more special considering it was a rare display of emotion from the guarded man.
“He has a very hard tough outer shell so for him to break down and cry and get emotional, was pretty emotional to me and my girls,” Pam told The Irish News.
“When he put them on, it was extremely emotional for us all because we knew by his reaction, something changed for him.”
And this was just from looking at his own backyard. Pam is excited that he still has a world of color still to discover:
“We are excited to take him to Letchworth State Park here in NY for him to see the color of leaves changing, the brilliance of lights on a Christmas tree, and the awe of a rainbow across the sky,” she told The Irish News.
He can now enjoy all the sights that most of us take for granted.
Finding the perfect gift for someone is always tricky, but needless to say, this family made the right purchase.