This I Believe

Adam - Royalton, Minnesota
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: prejudice

Looks are deceiving

I have always heard the cliché “never judge a book by its color” but I never really felt like it had applied somewhere in my life until about a year ago.

There I was, sitting at a table eating lunch with my friends; it was the second day of school of my senior year. That’s when I spotted a kid I didn’t recognize sitting all by himself at a table right next to ours. The kid was wearing a soccer jersey with blue adidas shorts and had long blonde hair. He did not look anything like the typical kid you saw at our school. My school consisted of farm kids and” jocks,” this kid was neither of these. I asked my friend Jake if he knew him,

“No, I haven’t seen him around at all,” Jake replied.

“Well, he looks kind of lonely,” I said.

“He looks kind of weird; I mean, who wears a soccer jersey?” my friend Josh said.

“Shut up Josh! Should we go sit by him?” Jake asked.

“Yeah man. Let’s go. Who else is in?” I barked.

The rest of the guys at the table got kind of quiet; then a few guys said “No we’ll just stay here.”

When Jake and I sat down, the kid got up and said, “Oh, am I at your table? I’ll move for you guys.” When he spoke, something about him sounded different, like he was foreign or something.

I quickly answered “No man, we came over to keep you company.”

A grin came across his face, “Oh well thank you, nobody has talked to me yet and I was starting to think Americans weren’t friendly.”

“So you’re an exchange student” Jake asked.

“Ha ha yeah, my name is Ato, I’m from Germany.”

“That explains a lot,” I said to myself.

From there we learned a lot about him, we asked many questions like how cold it gets during the winter, and what it’s like to be able to drink alcohol at a younger age.

Ato quickly became popular at our school; he joined the football team and started hanging out with us outside of school. We showed Ato what it is like to live in a rural Minnesota town. We gave him a crash course of winter life in Minnesota. We showed him the finer points of snowmobiling and ice fishing. We received some free lessons on how to speak German from Ato on bus rides to football games, although most of the words we learned would not be very helpful if any of us were to travel to Germany, unless were ordering a pizza. I will never forget the day I tried some chocolate that Ato brought to school. I do not know if it was the fact that the chocolate was richer than I was used to, or if I was just wired that day, but for the rest of the day I could not sit still in my classes.

I’m still in touch with Ato; I talk to him on the internet once in a while. He said he misses being in America for the winter.

One of the kids that didn’t go sit by Ato on the second day of school later told me that by looking at Ato that day, he never thought he would end up being one of his close friends, because he looked way too different. He went on to say, he was glad that Jake and I went and sat by Ato that day.

“Hey man, don’t always judge a book by its cover” I replied.

This is why I believe that you should not judge people when you first meet them. They may become one of your good friends, like Ato became for me.