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Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 03/21/2012

President Obama surprises deaf student by signing to him

This post has been updated.

President Obama took a deaf student by surprise last week by speaking to him in sign language.

President Obama signs “Thank you.” (YouTube)
Stephon Williams, a 26-year-old student from Prince George’s Community College, was standing in line after an event on energy policy in Maryland when he managed to catch the president’s attention, D.C.-based blog Distriction reports. Obama, who had been busy shaking hands, looked directly at the student.

“I am proud of you,” Williams signed. Obama, without skipping a beat, signed back: “Thank you.”

“When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me,” Williams told Distriction later. “He was just a humble man.”

Obama’s Twitter account shared the encounter on its feed Tuesday:

And Williams later made a video about his experience. “It was like he was waiting for me to say something,” Williams says on the video, which is in sign language. “He understood me after I said I was proud of him. It was so amazing.”

In the video, Williams also revealed that immediately after his interaction, a woman signed “I love you” to Obama.

This time, the president simply smiled.

By  |  10:41 AM ET, 03/21/2012

Tags:  President Obama, sign language, student

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