A community college student in the Washington, D.C., area was standing in line after a campus event on energy policy with President Obama, waiting for a chance to shake hands with the president, when he got a moment of face time with the guest of honor. He greeted him the only way he knew how:
"I am proud of you," Stephon signed to the president.
President Obama signed back: "Thank you."
The elated student later recounted his experience on YouTube via American Sign Language.
If your sign language isn't as good as the president's, here's a partial transcript of what he said, from the Huffington Post, first reported by D.C. blog Distriction.
[I] was close enough to touch Martin O’Malley on his shoulder but I didn’t want to bother him. I regret I could have done better holding my camera while talking to Obama. The moment I will never forget was when he looked at me. He gave me a chance to talk to him. It was like he was waiting for me to say something. I took the moment and signed “I am proud of you,” and his response was “Thank u” in sign language back! Oh my gosh! I was like wow! He understood me after I said I was proud of him. It was so amazing … I was just speechless. Right after he thanked me, he smiled at another deaf lady who signed “I love you.” When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me. He was just a humble man. I am just impressed by him and know that he will have my vote and he will win second term without a doubt. Yeah, I feel safe to have him for another term.
The Huffington Post reports that in 2008, several deaf bloggers noted that then-Sen. Obama understood basic sign language after he signed to them.
Read more at the Huffington Post.