Ex-CIA officer selling patriotic tie on eBay finds highest bidder wanted it for citizenship ceremony

A retired CIA officer was downsizing and decided to sell some of his vast collection of ties on eBay.

One person was particularly taken with an American flag-themed tie that Marc Johnson posted for sale.

“I used to wear it on the 4th of July, but I’ve been downsizing so I decided to sell it," Johnson said.

When Johnson, who lives in Arlington, Va., was getting ready to ship it to the winning bidder, Jaques Campher of Ohio, he noticed that it had some stains on it.

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“So I 'fess up to the winning bidder and tell him I’ll give him a discount if he still wants the tie,” Johnson said on Twitter.

Campher responded that the stains were no problem if he could get them out himself. He told Johnson he’d been on a serious search for the perfect patriotic American tie because he wanted to wear it proudly on a special day – the day he was taking the oath to become a U.S. citizen.

Johnson said Campher’s pride and excitement about becoming a U.S. citizen touched him, and prompted him to want to give the South African native the tie as a gift.

“I was like . . . I can’t charge him for this,” Johnson told The Washington Post.

“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.”

Campher told the Post that Johnson’s gesture moved him.

“I cannot explain how I feel about that. It is a warm feeling.”

Campher sent Johnson a photo of himself at the citizenship ceremony wearing the tie. Johnson posted it on Twitter after getting Campher’s permission.

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“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. . . . I patted myself on the back for a good deed and moved on. I had more or less forgotten about it. Until a few minutes ago.”

Campher told the Post that he was pleasantly surprised by all the supportive and well-wishing comments Johnson’s tweets generated of his new-found buddy’s search for the perfect American tie.

“The people are wonderful, the country is wonderful,” said Campher.  “I want my daughter to grow up in this wonderful country.”