Caleb Francis is your typical 18 year old, just trying to figure out life after high school.
“I’m always trying to like keep busy, so whatever I can do to not sit around and do nothing is kind of what I like to do.”
But when it came to choosing electives in school two years ago, he knew he wanted to try a little something different.
"I didn’t want to take art, I didn’t want to take ceramics…everyone I know here takes Spanish, French, my dad speaks French,” said Francis.
So he took two years of sign language, never knowing how it'd come in handy.
“I was like alright, like I’ll just take sign language like no big deal. I wasn’t like, ‘Oh I really want to take it.’ And it was like, I picked it up like that, I definitely knew that there was going to come a point where I could use it.”
And one day, while he was working the day shift here at Taco Bell that thought became reality as a customer who was deaf stood in line lost and confused with very little help.
Until Caleb stepped in.
"He wanted a side of salsa and sour cream but he didn’t know how to order a side of salsa and sour cream, and then we just kind of started communicating through that,” said Francis.
Another customer in line caught the interaction on camera, posted it on social media, and that’s when it went viral.
Jimmy Dickens, Caleb’s manager at Taco Bell, was thrilled to hear about Francis’ act of kindness.
“When I saw the video I was very happy, and very proud…it’s exactly what Caleb would do. He’s just so super with customers.”
With over 200 shares in less than two days, Francis tells me for him, it’s just about help someone in need and speaking the language he’s grown to love.
“I think the biggest misconception about this is people say oh you probably made his day like so much easier and all that stuff…but what people don’t understand is it’s just exciting for me to get to sign to people as it is for anybody else…so when someone says oh I sign, it’s like Oh!, it’s just so exciting to me.”
Caleb said since that interaction, he’s had 3 other deaf people come in to specially sign their orders to him. While he’s not sure if he’ll make signing a career yet, he tells me he plans to continue to study and practice the language in hopes to become more fluent.