Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

A vision of kindness

Seniors surprise classmate with color blindness glasses

 

October 8, 2020

An act of kindness can be life-changing, as was ably demonstrated last week by the students of Sundance High School. A group of seniors gifted a classmate who had never before seen what the world really looks like with a pair of glasses to correct his color blindness.

“I had the idea a few years ago and it’s just been in the back of my head to do it,” says Payton Ewing, who organized the surprise for fellow senior Ben Tinsley.

With a little research, however, Ewing realized that a set of color-blindness glasses is priced at $300 – this wasn’t something he’d be able to pull off alone.

“As a teenager, that’s kind of a lot of money to spend right off the bat,” Ewing says. “I eventually just decided to call an all-class meeting and see who would be interested.”

Ewing began collecting contributions and ordered the glasses. The next step was to figure out a plan to get Tinsley, his classmates and the glasses in one place.

“My idea when I first bought them was that I wanted to take him up into the mountains and let him see all the leaves change colors. That didn’t work for the schedules of everyone who pitched in on it, so we decided that I would go talk to the school office and see if we could set up in the gym the next morning and take a few minutes out of our first-hour class,” Ewing says.

“We set up a big class meeting in the gym and called him in. We had some balloons set up for him that me and two other girls had blown up the night before and just hid everything in our pickups – each pickup had about 80 balloons in it.”

Tinsley, of course, had no idea what his friends were planning until he entered the school gym to find a path of brightly colored balloons and a group of students awaiting him. He was lured off the scent even further when he was handed a fluffy duck “decoy” as he neared the gym.

“I thought, you’re going to blindfold me bring me in and give me a duck? That seems a little excessive,” he jokes. “It was just to throw me off, because they thought it would be funny.”

Tinsley was peripherally aware that such a thing as color-blindness glasses existed, but it wasn’t something he’d thought to get for himself. The experience of putting them on for the first time was shocking, he says, because reality turned out to be much different to his lifetime of experience.

“I’ve been lied to about a lot of stuff for most of my life,” he jokes. “I thought the sky was just flat blue all the way across, but I’ve figured out those change color.”

As soon as he donned the glasses, Tinsley noticed he had been wrong about SHS’s school colors. “I thought we were a really dark red, almost brown, but we’re a very bright red,” he says.

Ewing also helped Tinsley learn the color of money, he says, thanks to a small prank the day before.

“I had asked him if he wanted to be part of helping me get some cash from the class so that we could pull off a little present, but we didn’t tell him what it was or who it was for,” he says.

“He pitched in $20 and afterwards I gave him the money back and showed him that’s what the true color of a $20 bill is.”

Tinsley has been completely color blind all his life. Now the shock and novelty have worn off, his new glasses will change his perception on a daily basis.

“They fully correct it. They don’t work at night, but I can just wear them for a normal day,” he says.

“I wear them often.”

As for how he feels about the surprise, Tinsley says it’s hard to explain. “I’m happy, but at the same time I feel like I owe them a great deal,” he says of the classmates who quite literally changed the way he views the world.

 
 

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