Just days before Flag Day, a security camera in Mobile, Alabama caught two people walking down a sidewalk past an American flag on a pole. Seemingly on impulse, one of them rips the flag down and stomps on it before walking away.
A short while later, the video shows a young man and woman discovering the desecrated flag, picking it up, and lovingly folding it properly into a triangle. Unseen in the video, they then placed it on the porch of the homeowner who owned the flag, according to CBS News.
Margaret Dopson, who has had her flag torn down multiple times before, said, "It's gut-wrenching to me to see it on video. It's a quick flash of what's wrong with society — anger, hatred and disrespect."
But as for the patriotic young couple that came along next, Dopson said, "I was so happy to say, 'Yes, this is what's right in this world, good people are around.' Quite frankly it moved me greatly, even the way the young man placed our flag on our porch.”
Dopson posted the surveillance video on Facebook in hopes that someone would identify the respectful couple. She received numerous comments in reply, from anger at the punk who pulled down the flag to joy at the couple for honoring it. Some commenters even offered to buy the couple dinner if they could be found.
A couple days later, FOX 10 News discovered their identities. They are 24-year-old Coast Guardsman Kees Anderson and his friend 25-year-old Nikki Thompson.
When the two, who met at Crossfit gym, came across the fallen flag, it was obvious to them that they couldn’t just walk past it. Thompson can be seen in the video picking it up before Anderson shows her how to fold it.
"That flag represents the people who serve in many ways; I definitely was more than happy to stop and take a little time out of my night just to fold it and give it the respect it deserves," Anderson explained. "I'm in the Coast Guard, Search and Rescue, that's our jam, that's what we do. Of course it means a lot to me."
Thompson added, "We were joking like, ‘Kees you're in the military, this is fate, you were born for a moment like this, let's fold it up.’ I grew up in a military family so, you respect the flag, and it's someone else's property. It belonged to someone else; it means something. We felt like it was such a small thing, a simple act of kindness."
"That is a symbol of what our country stands for and what these people have literally sacrificed their lives for and done heroic things for, all in the name of that flag,” Anderson continued. “It's pretty important to me to show respect.”
The two received an outpouring of support from those who saw what they did on the Dopson’s video.
“There is hope... this is the best thing besides this... i have seen all week,” wrote John Frye on Facebook.
“Awe! It makes me so angry! People are just destructive to be jerks!,” wrote Anabelle Frye about the punk before adding, “Then those two sweet people! Awesome! It shows that an act of kindness can fix anything.”
“Kind of restores your hope after seeing idiots!” added Jani Kaplan Handwerger.
“Coast Guard proud! Thank you for sharing the videos with us,” wrote Mickey Dillon.
Thank you, Anderson and Thompson! Your pride in America and your respect for our flag is an example for us all.