He Couldn't Stand Messy Foreign Student Who Sat Next to Him Every Day Until He Learned the Truth


Discussion about foreigners in the media are often political in nature and can become quite heated.

But Thomas McFall, of Hubbard, Ohio, managed to express a meaningful reflection on his personal Twitter account about his experience befriending a foreign student in school.

McFall normally uses Twitter for more lighthearted and humorous purposes. After he made an important realization about a fellow classmate, he wanted to share it with others, so he turned to Twitter.

The main tweet has been retweeted over 151,000 times and liked over 286,000 times. Many Twitter users who were complete strangers to McFall came across the thread and were even moved to tears by the story McFall shared.

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McFall began by explaining that he always sits in the same seat in one of his management classes. A foreign student who does not speak much English always sits next to him.

Something that puzzled and annoyed McFall was that the foreign student placed many of his personal items on the desk unofficially assigned to McFall. He wondered why the foreign student did this every class when he knew McFall would be sitting in that seat.

McFall viewed this classmate’s stack of items including a bag, books, and phone as an annoying mess.

“Ah, Tom. You here. Okay,” the foreign student would comment once McFall approached his seat. The student would then frantically remove everything from the desk.

“He then makes it a habit to say “Ready for class, yeah?” And gives me a high five,” McFall wrote on Twitter. At this point, he thought of his fellow classmate as an annoying “foreign guy.”

But, then one morning McFall and another student were late to class. The other student tried to sit in McFall’s usual seat, which had the foreign student’s usual stack of stuff on the desk space.

The foreign student apologized before explaining that his friend Tom would be sitting there. It finally hit McFall that the annoying “mess” was actually intended to be a way to save him a seat.

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McFall invited the foreign student to eat lunch with him. He soon learned that the young man came to the United States for his education and to earn money to send to his family. He has been working hard to earn a degree while his wife and children are living back home.

The moment McFall learned the truth about the stack of items on the desk, his perspective of the “foreign guy” instantly changed. He was no longer some guy who did not speak a lot of English, but a real person with a unique story.

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Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College.
Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College. Carolyn's writing has been featured in both online and print media, including Just Between Us magazine. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and children.
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