Surveillance cameras caught a man ripping down the flag in front of a home, stomping on it, and then leaving it on the sidewalk. Minutes later, two heroes come to the rescue, and carefully fold the flag and leave it on a doorstep.
That was 24-year-old Kees Anderson and 25-year-old Nikki Thompson.
Anderson has worked at Mobile's Coast Guard Aviation Training Center for almost two years. It's where he proudly wears the American flag on his uniform, and learned what it stands for.
"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," said Anderson. "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."
So when he and a friend came across the crumpled flag on Dauphin Street, clearly ripped off the pole, Anderson saw it as just another way to serve his country. And Thompson, helped him.
"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," said Thompson. "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."
The two met at a Crossfit gym in Midtown Mobile a couple of months ago, where Thompson is a coach. But early Sunday morning, Anderson was the one coaching her. That teaching moment, now making a huge impact on the community.
"We felt like it was such a small thing, a simple act of kindness," said Thompson.
But what happened minutes before they got there, was the opposite of kindness. The surveillance cameras also caught a man ripping the flag down and stomping on it before walking away. If you take a closer look, he's dressed as a pirate. Ironic, if you think about who later found the flag.
And with the flag back up now where it belongs, it now also stands as a reminder of all the good in the world.
"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. It's pretty important to me, to show respect," said Anderson.
FOX10 News told the owner of the flag that we found the "mystery couple." She tells us she is so happy the two are getting the recognition they deserve, and is thankful they handled the flag with respect.
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