Every 2 or 3 kids out of 1000 in the United States are born with some level of hearing loss. While the condition is relatively common, there are many challenges that come with being deaf.
People who are deaf can’t hear announcements at events and public places. It’s nearly impossible to communicate in the dark (whether through sign language or lip reading), and they never know if someone’s approaching them from behind. Even ordering a simple, fast food meal can become a frustrating task.
A few years ago, Caleb Francis, 18, made national headlines after he was unknowingly recorded helping a deaf customer place an order at Taco Bell.
Caleb, an employee at the fast food restaurant, was working a day shift when he noticed a man having difficulty placing his order with the cashier.
Realizing the customer was deaf, Caleb immediately stepped in.
Using American Sign Language (ASL), Caleb was able to figure out what the man needed.
In an interview with News 5 Cleveland, he explained:
“He [the customer] wanted a side of salsa and a side of sour cream. But he didn’t know how to order a side of salsa and sour cream.”
Caleb had recently learned ASL as a high school elective.
“I didn’t want to take arts; I didn’t want to take ceramics,” he recalled. “I thought ‘Oh, everyone I know here takes Spanish. French? No, my dad takes French.”
Finally, after much deliberation, he settled on ASL. And to his surprise, he was a total natural. “I picked it up like that,” he said with a snap.
“I definitely knew there was going to come to a point where I could use it.”
Caleb’s kindness caught the attention of another customer in the restaurant, who, unbeknownst to him, started recording the interaction. Later, it was posted online where the it immediately went viral. Caleb’s manager told News5 Cleveland: “When I saw the video, I was very happy and very proud.”
“He’s so super with customers.”
After the post went viral, other deaf customers started going to Caleb’s Taco Bell location to sign their orders, too.
“I think the biggest misconception about all of this is people are like, ‘Oh you made his day so much easier,” said Caleb.
“But what people don’t understand is that it is just as exciting for me to get to sign to people. When someone says, ‘Oh, I sign,’ it’s so exciting to me.”
Since being uploaded to YouTube, Caleb’s story has been viewed more than 11 million times.
“Listen up kids, this is how you make your life worthwhile. Being a human being that actually cares for their fellow human.”
“Wanted to cry because he was so kind, caring and helping. Not a lot of people would do this. Some, in fact, would be rude, but this video made me happy.”
“Someone pay that kid’s tuition for college. Can we please have more young people like him?”
Hear the story below.
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