When we talk about the people who run the school, the first thing that will pop in your mind might be the teachers, the librarians, or the principal. More often than not, we tend to forget about the custodians (janitor) who also pour their heart when dealing with the students.
But in the case of a custodian of Hickerson Elementary School in Tullahoma, Tennesee, the students he’s taking care of wouldn’t forget about him. After all the charming students had shown to the world how much they love him when they surprised him on his birthday!
The effort behind the students’ sweet and thoughtful gesture, not only touched James Anthony’s heart but also moved people all over the world.
On October 23, James Anthony, or Mr. James, celebrated his birthday. Unbeknownst to the responsible and dedicated custodian, the students of a kindergarten class prepared a thoughtful surprise for him. Thus, when Mr. James walked inside a classroom, he surely was not expecting to see kindergartners singing the Happy Birthday song.
You might be thinking, ‘what’s so special about a happy birthday song?!’
Well, Mr. James is not your ordinary school custodian. The hardworking and dedicated man has a hearing impairment, thus when the kindergarten class had to learn how to sing the Happy Birthday song in a sign language.
“Our Kindergarten classes learned how to sign Happy Birthday for Mr. James’ birthday today. He was so surprised,” the school nurse, Angela Ridner, who took a footage of the special surprise said in an interview.
The school custodian who has served Hickerson Elementary for 15 years could not hide his emotional reaction. Although Mr. James tried to hide his face by covering it with his hands, still it is evident that their surprise overjoyed the 60-year-old custodian.
In an interview with Fox 17, the principal of the Hickerson Elementary School named Jimmy Anderson shared how hardworking Mr. James is. “Mr. James teaches the kids sign language every now and then, teaches them good manners and how to treat other people.” Due to the time and attention Mr. James dedicated to the students, the children love him very much.
Assistant Principal, Kathy Crabtee, also added that though Mr. James is deaf and students have difficulty understanding him, still it did not stop them from becoming his friend.
The heartwarming video of the kindergarten’s surprise for the deaf custodian they love so much was posted on social media. With the volume of positivity and happiness the video reflects, it garnered thousands of shares and views in just a matter of hours.
“I was in shock, I was very very moved. You have to know what it’s like to live and not be able to hear real good but to see those children do that, it was just wonderful.” Mr. James expressed how much he treasures the thoughtful surprise which the students prepared for him.
“I was really happy to do it because I really wanted to make him happy for his birthday.” One of the students explained why she sang and performed the Happy Birthday song in a sign language for Mr. James.
Based on the testimonials of the students and their strong desire to make Mr. James’ birthday extra-special, the 60-year-old custodian clearly have a special place in their heart!
Watch the heartwarming video below and see how the thoughtful students of Hickerson Elementary School made the 60th birthday of their custodian truly unforgettable!
Photos and Video | Inside Edition