'Better Late Than Never'
Thomas McFall took to Twitter last month with a series of posts about something he experienced in an Ohio college classroom. You … I … all of us … need to hear this story, as told in a series of Twitter posts that I’ve combined here.
“Hey guys, I know I usually just post crappy jokes on my Twitter, but bear with me because I wanted to share something. So in one of my Management classes, I sit in the same seat in the front every day. Every single day I sit there. Now, I also sit next to some foreign guy who barely speaks English. The most advanced thing I've heard this guy say in English is, ‘Wow, my muffin is really good.’ This guy also has a habit of stacking every item he owns in the exact space I sit. His bag, his food, his books, and his phone are always right on my desk space.
“Now, every single time I walk into class this guy says, ‘Ah, Tom. You here. Okay.’ And starts frantically clearing my desk of his belongings. He then makes it a habit to say ‘Ready for class, yeah?’ And gives me a high five. Every day this guy gives me a high five.
“I was always annoyed with this guy. I'm thinking ‘Dude, you know I sit in this seat every day. Why are you always stacking your stuff here?’ And the last thing I want to do is give a guy who barely speaks my language high fives at 8 in the morning. ‘Just get your stuff off my desk.’
“But today I came to class and was running a few minutes late. I'm standing outside because I had to send a quick text. I could see my usual space through the door out of the corner of my eye. Of course, my desk was filled with his belongings. The usual.
“As I'm standing there on my phone another guy who was also late walks into the class before me and tried to take my seat since it's closest to the door. The guy sitting next to me stops this dude from sitting down and says ‘I'm sorry. My good friend Thomas sits here.’
“It was then that I realized this guy wasn't putting stuff on my seat to annoy me. He was saving me the seat every morning. And this whole time he saw me as a friend, but I was too busy thinking about myself to take him into consideration. Cheesy as it sounds, I was touched.
I ended up going into class and of course, he cleared the seat and said ‘Ah, Tom. You here. Okay.’ And I did get a high five. At the end of class I ended up asking him if he wanted to get a bite to eat with me. We did. And we talked for a while. I got through the broken English.
“The guy moved here from the Middle East to pursue a college education in America. He plans to go back after he gets his degree. He's got two kids and a wife. He works full time and sends his all his leftover money back home to his wife.
“I asked him how he liked America as well. He said he misses his family, but it's exciting to be here. He also said, ‘Not every American is nice to me like you are, Tom.’ I bought lunch, of course. Dude deserves it. He gave me a high five for buying lunch. Gotta keep up tradition.
“Moral of the story? Don't do what I do and constantly only think about yourself. It took me nearly the entire semester to get my head out of my (backside) and realize this guy was just trying to be my friend. Better late than never I suppose.”
Friends, it’s better late than never for all of us….
Thanks to Thomas McFall for being kind to another stranger and granting permission for me to publish his Twitter posts.