This now-viral story about an immigrant who didn’t speak English will remind you that there’s still good in this world
With the Trump administration threatening to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and bigoted attitudes still all too common in our culture, immigrants to the U.S. face countless challenges. But for every instance of discrimination, there are people who exhibit true compassion, and a viral post from one Korean immigrant is proving just that.
A blogger known as T.K., who runs the culture site Ask a Korean!, recently shared a story from when he first arrived in the U.S. back in 1997. In a May 11th Twitter thread, T.K. recalled taking a quiz in his 10th grade biology class on his second day at his new American high school. He remembered feeling frustrated because while he knew the answers, he didn’t know enough English to communicate his knowledge.
“I remember staring at it for about five minutes, slowly getting angry with frustration,” T.K. wrote in the thread. “I was mad because the quiz was easy. I learned about photosynthesis in Korea as a 7th grade. I knew all the answers. Just not in English.”
T.K. wrote that he realized the quiz — and the frustrating language barrier he was facing — was his “new reality.”
Even though his teacher had told him he didn’t have to take the quiz because he was new, he decided to complete it anyway, writing his answers in Korean.
Much to T.K.’s surprise, when the quiz results were announced, he had received a perfect score.
He later learned that his teacher, Ms. Gallagher, had asked another teacher who knew Korean to help her grade the quiz.
T.K. wrote that, even to this day, he is blown away by Ms. Gallagher’s kindness.
"I truly believe that moment changed the trajectory of my immigrant life in the United States," he wrote. "Thanks to my teacher, I was able to prove to myself that I didn't suddenly turn stupid."
That moment motivated T.K. to learn English, and he eventually went on to become a lawyer and a writer.
Screenshots of T.K.’s thread posted to Facebook have been shared more than 21,000 times.
We’re thanking T.K. for sharing this story and for reminding us just how much of an impact a little care and kindness can make in someone else’s life.