Irritated Student Tweets About Messy Immigrant Classmate, It Goes Viral for a Reason

April 27, 2019 Updated: May 4, 2019

We’ve all heard the age-old advice, “Never judge a book by its cover.” But what does it imply, exactly? Does it hold us up to impossible standards? And what about those times when we’re not exactly equipped with the perfect set of prerequisite personality traits to face the world with kindness? (Early morning, pre-coffee, for starters.)

Classroom seating is a prime example. Human beings are creatures of habit and often choose to sit in the same place in any room that they visit with regularity. “Excuse me, that’s my seat,” is not an uncommon phrase to overhear in the classrooms of schools, colleges, and universities the world over.

If you’ve claimed a seat, there’s an unspoken rule that nobody else should sit in it (Illustration – Shutterstock | Gorodenkoff)

But is it your seat? Is it really? We don’t see anybody’s name on it!

Indignation persists, nonetheless. If you’ve claimed a seat, there’s an unspoken rule that nobody else should sit in it. Take Thomas McFall. McFall took a management class in 2018 and quickly claimed a seat in prime position by the classroom door. This was strategizing at its finest: McFall was often late to class, so sitting by the door allowed for him to slip in with minimal disruption to his classmates.

Plus, McFall hails from the not-insubstantial faction of folk who prefer to keep their early morning human interactions to a minimum. For these people, small talk is a burden at the best of times, so early morning quarrels about seating arrangements are not just irritating but thoroughly, completely unacceptable!

McFall was irritated by the mountain of mayhem on the desk he wished to sit by (Illustration – Shutterstock | Early Spring)

McFall had his seat, and for the most part its sanctity was respected by everybody. Except for one fellow, the man who seemed determined to decorate McFall’s desk with his own belongings every single morning before class. McFall, eager to sit down and irritated by the mountain of mayhem on the desk he wished to sit by, grew impatient.

He didn’t think for a second about his neighbor’s intentions, or the life of the man behind the mess.

But it wasn’t to last. One day, running a little later than usual, McFall came face to face with the inaccuracy of his preconceptions, and to his credit, he owned up about his ignorance in a compelling Twitter thread. It has since gone viral, and you’ll soon see why.

What happened next turned McFall’s preconceptions on their heads. He’d been wrong, and he was truly humbled.

Kudos to McFall for owning up to his ignorance, as his experience provides a lesson for all of us. Sure, we can still be wrong, but assuming best intentions could mean the difference between needless hostility and friendship.

Quite literally thousands of people agree. “Excellent/Powerful,” one Twitter user shared. “Someone said to me once jokingly, ‘You don’t know my story,'” they continued, “but it was one of the most eye opening phrases anyone has ever said to me.” Another chimed in by admitting: “This story almost made me tear up first thing in the morning.”

If you’re stuck in your ways, why not swap an old tradition for a new one and change somebody’s day? You might just make a friend out of it.