First responders are frequently responsible for assessing the aftermath of traumatic accidents and keeping the victims calm. A little girl involved in a car accident in Clearfield, Utah, reaped the benefit of two firefighters thinking outside the box when they helped calm her down in a very creative way.
On Oct. 12, 2019, a woman driving a car rear-ended the Fernelius family’s vehicle three times. Two-year-old Braelyn was sitting on the back seat.
The family, shaken by the crash, was treated by first responders. While nobody was seriously injured in the crash, two North Davis firefighters quickly noticed Braelyn crying inconsolably in the back of the car.
But instead of asking the toddler questions and focusing on the crash, the kindly firefighters started talking to Braelyn about other topics in an effort to distract her. They started with her nail polish.
Before long, the little girl was utterly absorbed in the task of giving pink and purple manicures to both men.
A Facebook post by the North Davis Fire District later described how Hadley and Lloyd, both fathers to young girls themselves, had approached the little girl. They both crouched down to Braelyn’s level to appear less intimidating before starting to chat with her.
“This is how amazing our firefighters are,” the post began. “Our A shift Battalion Chief and Captain were on the scene of a motor vehicle accident where a small female child was not injured but very scared.
“After noticing the child was holding bottles of fingernail polish, these 2 officers started talking to her about her polish and asked her if she would paint their nails.
“Within minutes, the child was calmly painting their nails and had forgotten about the accident she had just experienced.” The post ended by congratulating Hadley and Lloyd on their “awesome customer service” to a young citizen.
“A lot of the colors she wanted were pink and purple,” Hadley told WATE 6. “But I kinda got the feeling she wanted to keep my hand pink and his purple.
“She just lit up,” Hadley recalled. “Every time she switched colors she just let out this boisterous laugh.”
The North Davis Fire District even posted photos of the two men showing off their brand-new pink and purple manicures. The heartwarming post and firefighters’ impromptu act of kindness has since gone viral, garnering over 6,700 shares on Facebook and 1,000 comments to date.
“So pretty! You’ll be glad to know we now have a large bottle of polish remover in Dispatch for the next time,” joked North Davis Fire District’s Amy Sue Nelson Starks.
“One of these men is my son,” added Lloyd’s mother, DeAnn. “He loves his work so much.”
Jocelyn later responded to the influx of well-wishes with an update on her daughter. “Braelyn and the baby are good,” she said. “She got upset when they told her that they had to go back to work. I told her that she can see them again!”
“It was really scary,” Jocelyn added, “[but] she was her normal happy self today, laughing and playing like usual.”
The sweet exchange made Braelyn’s day and melted hearts across the nation, but it also made Hadley and Lloyd’s days. The firefighters left the scene with much more than a brand-new manicure.
“It just puts a smile on our faces, too,” Chief Hadley said. “She’s adorable,” Lloyd added. “We asked if we could keep her but her mom wouldn’t let us.”
According to Jocelyn, after the impromptu manicure session, her previously traumatized toddler was “just happy.” “It just made me feel like I could relax a little bit,” she explained.
“She’s never painted anyone’s nails before,” Braelyn’s dad, Brandyn, told Fox 13, “and now she asks me all the time!”
The small gesture meant everything to Braelyn in her moment of terror. Two men and a manicure truly exemplified the lengths our first responders will go to to keep citizens safe, calm, and cared for in a crisis.