All The Feels: Kindergarteners Surprise Custodian, Who Is Hearing Impaired, By Signing ‘Happy Birthday’


December 1, 2018

Photo via: Hickerson Elementary

A kindergarten class at Hickerson Elementary School in Tullahoma, Tennessee just did the sweetest thing for their custodian’s 60th birthday on Tuesday. The students surprised James Anthony, who is hearing impaired, by signing “Happy Birthday” to him.

With help from teachers Amy Hershman, Allyssa Hartsfield and the school nurse Angela Ridner, the students learned how to sign the song. While Anthony, known around school as Mr. James, can also read lips, his reaction to the students simultaneously singing and signing “Happy Birthday” is absolutely priceless.


See for yourself below.

The video was posted to the school’s Facebook page, where Jordan Carter commented: “I am 34 years old and Mr. James was my janitor at Hickerson as well!!!! GOD BLESS this wonderful man!!!!!!!!”


Elizabeth Fox wrote: “Happiest of birthdays, Mr. James! You haven’t aged a bit. What a blessing you have been to the students and staff of many Coffee County schools.”

Another former Coffee County student, Matthew Shapourian, said of Anthony: “He gave me some basketball shoes at Coffee County High School to wear during a summer basketball camp in 2001. I was 16. I remember not knowing why he was letting me have them. He asked me what size I wore and still have not forgotten his generosity.”

Anthony has been working for the Coffee County School District since 1991, and 15 years at Hickerson teaching “the kids sign language every now and then…good manners and how to treat other people,” FOX 17 News reports Hickerson Principal Jimmy Anderson saying.


Happy Birthday, Mr. James! Your positive impact on students is an inspiration to us all.

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