LARGO, MD - MARCH 15: Students, faculty, staff and invited guests cheer wildly as U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Prince George's Community College March 15, 2012 in Largo, Maryland. Obama delivered a speech where he said his administration has helped to bring down the United States' dependence on foreign oil while promoting alternative forms of energy, like wind and solar power. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
One Maryland man’s chance encounter with President Barack Obama has gone viral.
The man, a 26-year-old college student at Prince George’s Community College known only as Stephon, went to shake the president’s hand at an event on a rope line March 15 in Largo, Md.
Instead of just shaking his hand, Stephon told the president he was proud of him, but not out loud. Stephon is deaf, so he did so in sign language.
That’s a moment that could stump a politician. But to Stephon’s surprise, Obama responded with a sign of his own -- hand to chin, arm straight out back at Stephon. A simple, “Thank you.”
Stephon captured the moment on video, and it’s already been viewed nearly 500,000 times on YouTube.
It caught on in social media, and President Obama’s Twitter handle even tweeted about it (though the tweet didn’t have the “-BO” tag to know the president himself issued it).
"I am proud of you," Stephon signed. "Thank you," the President signed back. OFA.BO/r49Cce
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 21, 2012
“When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me,” Stephon told the website Distriction. “He was just a humble man.”
Domenico Montanaro is NBC News' Deputy Political Editor and an NBC News First Read analyst. Read the national edition of First Read featuring Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Domenico on msnbc.com.