The Hearing Hitchhiker: a Deaf Joke

This classic Deaf story has been orally passed on from generation to generation in the Deaf community from the early 20th century (to our best knowledge) across North America through Deaf communities, friends, and deaf schools.

When we were kids, we first heard this joke from our Deaf American teacher Sue Bailey in the 1980s and she had this joke when she was younger. There have always been variants in the joke, such as a type or color of the car. Enjoy!

The Joke in ASL

For the English translation, see below.

ASL story above produced by Sorenson VRS.

Translation

A Deaf young man was driving long distance in his fancy red Ferrari. A hearing hitchhiker stood on the side of the highway, hitchhiking. The Deaf driver stopped and let him in. The hearing passenger stared at the Deaf driver, wondering how such a Deaf person got this nice car. Impressive.

The Deaf guy drove arrogantly fast. Police siren. He stopped and gestured that he's deaf. The police officer hesitated as to how he could communicate with him so he waived him. The hearing man looked at the Deaf guy who shrugged. It's not unusual. He sped on. Police siren. Stop. Let go. The hearing passenger was amazed.

The Deaf felt so tired. He invited the hearing passenger to drive. The hearing guy delightfully agreed to drive. They switched. The hearing driver was pondering about what was just happening.

The hearing driver drove fairly fast. Police siren. The hearing man looked at the Deaf guy who slept like a stone. He became panic. He stopped. Nervously, he didn't know what to do.

Ah, he decided to be pretending that he was deaf.

A hunky police officer looked at the hearing driver and vocally spoke. The hearing man gestured that he was deaf. The police paused, looked and gestured, pointing to his ear and shook his head? The hearing driver confirmed, gesturing no hear.

The police officer replied in fluent ASL, "Ah, so you're deaf. My parents are Deaf. May I see your driver's license, please?"

Hearing Imposters in the Wild

Funny, but not funny in real life. Don't do this. Deaf people don't appreciate hearing people pretending to be deaf which sometimes happen -- hearing peddlers selling the manual ABC cards, for example.

Unfortantely, it did happen to a hearing driver who heard this joke from his Deaf girlfriend. One day in the 1990s in eastern U.S., he drove his Deaf girlfriend to the airport, rushing. Police siren. Pulled over. The Deaf girlfriend was appalled when her boyfriend gestured "deaf". The police stopped vocally speaking and looked at the Deaf girlfriend who also gestured "deaf" and suggested "writing". Somehow, he let them go. The girlfriend was furious with him about it.

Goodness, the old days were over. As with the days of "diversity, inclusion, and equity" and ADA, you will still get a ticket whether you're hearing or deaf.

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