I couldn’t feel my feet. My toes were numb, my body was shaking like I had an electrical current running through me, and my breath would fog up the air in front of my face, reminding me every couple of seconds just how cold it really was. I was on a weekend trip in Bergen, Norway, at the end of February. I was standing outside of my hostel waiting for two of my friends to finish smoking their cigarettes, in pain, scolding myself for my choice of clothing. Suddenly, a pedestrian walking along the sidewalk stopped in front of us and looked at us for a moment before asking a question. “Are you English?” He said. I looked at my two friends, confused. “Yes, well, we speak English” I said. He smiled, warmly. My curiosity took over, and I wondered why a random person would be asking us that question, let alone at one in the morning. “I’m from Bergen. May I show you around sometime?” He said. He looked at my other friends, addressing all of us. “Of course,” my friend Michaela said. She paused. “How about tomorrow?” We had an entire day to kill in Bergen before we got on our 9 pm flight back to Copenhagen where we were studying abroad. “Yes, yes, I would love to show people around my home.” His English wasn’t the best, but very understandable. We exchanged Facebook names, and off he was into the night. “This will be great, getting to hang out with a local,” Michaela said before turning to go inside. I followed her, nodding. I’m from New York and live right next to one of the busiest cities in the world, I was not used to people wanting to show you their home town, or wanting to even take the time out of their schedule to do it. I was touched. The next day, we couldn’t reach him. My friends and I waited at a cafe for hours, the minutes ticking by, waiting for him to answer. Was he just messing with us? Are we not going to get a tour of Bergen from a local? It was pouring rain outside, so we were stuck anyway. The cafe was our only source of wifi, considering we had to check out of the hostel early in the morning. None of us were sure how much longer we should wait, or if we should walk around by ourselves and forget the whole ordeal. After hours of Facebook Messaging with no replies (none of us had international phones), we finally got in touch with him. We planned to meet at a local movie theater a 10 minute walk from where we were. As we headed towards the theater, I looked up, admiring the fog that hung low over the surrounding mountains, giving the city an eerily mysterious feel. Bergen is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to, even in the rain. When we met up with him, we all decided to stay inside the movie theater’s lounge. “There’s not much to see in this rain anyway,” he said. The conversation we had changed my life. We sat in a circle and talked. He asked us what America was like, and how it differs from Bergen. He was so intrigued to learn about a country he has never been to, just as we were intrigued to learn about his country. And then he opened up. “I was captured by rebels when I was ten in the Liberian Civil War,” he said. I looked down, shocked at what I had just heard. “I held an AK-47 and was told to shoot. But I couldn’t do it. I escaped with my family and moved here, to Norway.” I was amazed. Shocked. Fascinated. We were total strangers to him, and he was sharing his life story. He continued to tell us about his family, and respectfully asked us about ours. He was only a few years older than me. I pictured my life when I was ten years old: A house, a public school, a bike, a school bus, the safety under my parent’s roof. And here he was, having lived through all of that, randomly offering to show us around his neighborhood just because he wanted to. He wanted to give, with nothing in return. After an hour of conversation, I felt as though I knew more about him than some friends I consider very close to me. His willingness to share this part of his life was remarkable. I respected him, his genuineness, his happiness, his openness. I hoped to meet more people like him. He was inspiring, and changed my outlook on humanity, reinforcing the fact that you really don’t know someone just by looking at them. This beautiful encounter bolstered my desire for travel and desire to meet people from around the world. Everyone has a story to share.