When retired CIA officer Marc Johnson was downsizing and selling some of his tie collection on eBay, an altruistic idea suddenly came to mind. Johnson had an American flag-themed tie posted on eBay that he was hoping would go to a thankful buyer.
“I used to wear it on the 4th of July, but I’ve been downsizing so I decided to sell it,” he said.
One person, Jaques Campher, was particularly interested in the tie and ultimately became the only bidder on the special item. Little did Johnson know how much this tie meant to Campher or why he was buying it. Before that, however, as Johnson was preparing to ship the tie, he noticed that it had some stains on it.
“So I [confessed] to the winning bidder and [told] him I’ll give him a discount if he still wants the tie,” Johnson said on Twitter.
Campher responded to Johnson that the stains were not an issue if he would be able to get them out himself. That was when Campher revealed that he had been on a search for the perfect tie for a very special day: the day he would become a U.S. citizen.
Campher felt that this patriotic piece of apparel would be the perfect addition to the emotional ceremony and a day that he would remember forever.
Johnson said he was touched to hear Campher’s excitement about becoming a U.S. citizen, which inspired him to do something above and beyond.
“I thought about it for a second and just decided to send him the tie gratis,” Johnson tweeted. ” . . . I wanted him to have the tie with my congratulations on becoming a citizen.”
After Campher received the tie, he told The Washington Post how meaningful this gesture was to him.
“I cannot explain how I feel about that. It is a warm feeling.” Campher said. Campher, a South African native, had waited five years to become a U.S. citizen.
“He responded with sincere thanks, telling me he was raised by his grandparents in South Africa, and they taught him to always make sure to be frugal and repair rather than replace,” Johnson said on Twitter. “He assured me he would treasure the tie for years to come.”
Campher decided to send a photo of himself wearing the tie on his special day with his family at the federal courthouse to Johnson.
“I wanted to show him I’m using the tie and it’s great,” Campher said.
When Johnson posted his story on Twitter, this prompted a flood of other responses. Some responded with their own stories about how they felt when they became citizens and how important it was to them to express their American pride. One account responded:
“So many congratulations and welcome to America! I was so proud when I became a citizen, I wore red pants, white blouse and blue blazer. This is such an amazing feeling!” Another person wrote:
“Took me back to my swearing-in ceremony when I wore a blue suit & the gold ear-rings my parents in #Bombay who could not be present, had gifted me.”
Campher told the Washington Post that he loved to see all the support he received in the comments off of Johnson’s twitter post.
“The people are wonderful, the country is wonderful,” said Campher. “I want my daughter to grow up in this wonderful country.” Below is a picture of Campher and his family.
Marc C. Johnson Twitter