Lifestyle & Human Interest

Ex-CIA Officer Learns Why Man Wants to Buy Patriotic Tie on eBay, Gives it to Him for Free


Editor’s Note: The following is one of the Western Journal’s most popular patriotic-themed stories, re-posted in honor of Independence Day.

My family has a friend of Brazilian heritage, a woman who has lived in the United States for years. We’ve watched her fortunes rise and fall, and she’s been with us through multiple births and a death.

When I saw her the other day, something was different. She greeted me with a big smile and said, “Loren, I’m the same as you now!”

She had passed her citizenship test, and I was as proud of her as I could be. It’s an emotional experience for anyone, as a Twitter thread by a former CIA operative reveals.

Under the Twitter handle @BlogGuero, former CIA Case Officer Marc C. Johnson posted a picture of a tie.

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Styled like a classic, 1980’s power tie, the American-made tie bears alternating red and blue stripes, the latter stippled with tiny white stars in imitation of an American flag.

Beneath the picture, Johnson wrote, “I’d like to tell a short story about America. It begins with me listing a necktie on eBay.

“It was this tie. I used to wear it on the 4th of July, but I’ve been downsizing, so I decided to sell it.”

If you’ve ever sold anything online, you know that transactions don’t always unfold as planned. Though Johnson had only set a price in the single digits, he didn’t have any takers at first.

Finally, he got a bid, sold the tie, and the purchaser gave him his information. The man’s name was Jaques Campher, and he lived in Ohio.

Johnson began packaging up the tie, but then he noticed something: The tie had stains on it, and he hadn’t mentioned them as part of the listing.

“So I ‘fess up to the winning bidder and tell him I’ll give him a discount if he still wants the tie,” Johnson wrote. “He comes right back and asks if I think it will come out if he takes it to the dry cleaners.

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“He said he really wanted it because he wanted to wear it TO HIS SWEARING IN CEREMONY TO BECOME AN AMERICAN CITIZEN.”

“I was like … I can’t charge him for this,” he told the Washington Post. He added on Twitter, “I thought about it for a second and just decided to send him the tie gratis and cancel the auction.”

Campher, a native of South Africa, found himself moved by the kind gesture, saying, “I cannot explain how I feel about that. It is a warm feeling.”

His American wife, Lindsay Krasinski, added, “He got weepy when he told me about it.”

Campher was so thankful that he snapped pictures of himself wearing the tie during and after his citizenship ceremony, and he sent them to Johnson.

“I wanted to show him I’m using the tie and it’s great,” he said, according to the Washington Post. He also wanted everyone to know how much he appreciated his new nation.

“The people are wonderful, the country is wonderful,” Campher said. “I want my daughter to grow up in this wonderful country.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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