The reason was he'd just gotten off the phone with his five year old son.
Why is that sad?
I'll tell you.
Six years ago he was dating an American student in Montpellier. When it was time for her to go back to the States after her year abroad he broke up with her because he didn't think a long distance relationship was realistic.
A few weeks after she got back to California she called him and let him know she was pregnant.
He told me he's trying to do the right thing. He sends them money. He's trying to get a visa to work in California so he can be closer to his son.
His problem right now?
He doesn't speak a lot of English and his son doesn't speak a word of French. So when he talks to his little boy on the phone neither of them have any idea what each other is saying.
Because he can't afford an English language course what he's doing is carrying a French/English dictionary with him wherever he goes and every time he has a break from work or anything he reads it and tries to memorize what he can.
"I'm getting better," he said to me. "But, my son speaks too quickly for me to understand him."