Janitor moved to tears after kindergartners sing 'Happy Birthday' to him in sign language

PHOTO: Mr. James Anthony has been the custodian at Hickerson Elementary School for 15 years.PlayHickerson Elementary School
WATCH Janitor moved to tears after kindergartners sing 'Happy Birthday' in sign language

A group of students made their beloved janitor's birthday extra special by learning to sing "Happy Birthday" in sign language to him.

The kindergarteners of Hickerson Elementary School in Tennessee, surprised Mr. James Anthony, who is deaf, with an unforgettable rendition of the song as he entered their classroom on Oct. 23 — his 60th birthday.

"His reaction was ecstatic," kindergarten teacher Allyssa Hartsfield told "Good Morning America." "He cried, and of course we got emotional with him. After it was over, he said, 'This is the best birthday present you could've given me.'"

PHOTO: he kindergartners of Hickerson Elementary School in Tennessee, surprised custodian Mr. James Anthony with the unforgettable rendition of Happy Birthday.Hickerson Elementary School
he kindergartners of Hickerson Elementary School in Tennessee, surprised custodian Mr. James Anthony with the unforgettable rendition of "Happy Birthday."

Hartsfield said she and another kindergarten teacher, Amy Hershman, combined classes to teach the kids how to sign "Happy Birthday" to celebrate Anthony.

Anthony has been the custodian at Hickerson for 15 years, but he's worked in the school district for nearly 30 years, Hershman told "GMA." Since Anthony is deaf, the children wanted to learn how to wish him a happy birthday using sign language.

PHOTO: Mr. James Anthony, a custodian at Hickerson Elementary School in Tennessee, was moved to tears after the kindergartners sang Happy Birthday to him in sign language.Hickerson Elementary School
Mr. James Anthony, a custodian at Hickerson Elementary School in Tennessee, was moved to tears after the kindergartners sang "Happy Birthday" to him in sign language.

"They really love him," Hershman said of her students. "The kids were super excited — they learned that song in probably five minutes."

Hickerson Elementary shared a video of the sweet performance on Facebook, where it's racked up 128,000 views.

PHOTO: Mr. James Anthony has been the custodian at Hickerson Elementary School for 15 years.Hickerson Elementary School
Mr. James Anthony has been the custodian at Hickerson Elementary School for 15 years.

"[Mr. James] said, 'Guys, I'm kind of famous — I'm going to Hollywood next,'" Hartsfield said. "We didn't realize it'd get this much attention. It has really affected a lot of people."

Hartsfield and Hershman said they'll continue celebrating Anthony's birthday for years to come.

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