President Obama surprises deaf student by signing to him

March 21, 2012

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)

“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:

”I am proud of you,” Stephon signed. “Thank you,” the President signed back. OFA.BO/r49Cce

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 21, 2012

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.

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