A classroom full of Tennessee kindergarteners proved that being kind doesn’t require that you say anything, literally. On Tuesday, Hickerson Elementary school posted a video to Facebook of one of the kids surprising the school’s deaf custodian by signing the “Happy Birthday” song.
James Anthony, or as the kids call him, “Mr. James” couldn’t hear some of the kids singing the words to the song, but he does know ASL and can read lips. Needless to say, Anthony seemed totally stunned by the gesture. Once he realized what was happening he immediately put his hands over his mouth in disbelief. Not long after the video of his birthday surprise surfaced, the school principal told local station WZTV that having Anthony around is actually really good for the kids.
“Mr. James teaches the kids sign language every now and then, teaches them good manners and how to treat other people,” Principal Jimmy Anderson said.
Kathy Crabtree, the school’s assistant principal, also had high praise for Anthony. She noted that while the kids don’t always know exactly what he’s saying, none of them have a very hard time learning to love him. Anthony has had a long time to get good at working with the kids, as he has been working as the custodian at Hickerson Elementary for over two decades. When the video went viral, there were more than a few former students who took to the comments to say that Anthony was the janitor when they went to the school too.