Former F.B.I. Lip Reader Shares Life Story with Students

7:39 PM, Apr 13, 2011   |    comments
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Sue Thomas

Columbia, SC (WLTX)- A former F.B.I. agent reached out to Ben Lippen High School students by sharing her story of being deaf and the obstacles she faced to overcome it.

Sue Thomas said her years as an agent weren't filled with high speed chases and undercover operations.

"I did not carry a gun, but I was behind the scenes giving them the crucial information by reading the bad guy's lips and telling the good guys what the bad guys were saying," said Thomas. 

Thomas told her story about overcoming adversity and putting your God given talents into action.  For many students, her testimony taught them to not only appreciate the blessing in life, but to also embrace people for their differences. 

"You never really know what deaf people are thinking and what people with disabilities have to go through in their struggles and stuff," said Riley Bearden, a junior at Ben Lippen School.  "I thought it was really neat to hear from someone who gained so much from their experiences and they learned to get stronger instead of bitter."

"It really makes you want to look at the things that you see as so negative in your life and the things that you really struggle with and want to fight against and really how you can almost like embrace them," said Drew Fraley.  

Thomas' life has inspired a television show called "Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye", which draws in more than 28 million viewers nationwide.  During her visit, she signed copies of her autobiography "Silent Night".  

The Columbia International University graduate said this was an opportunity for her to reach out to students who are lost or are having a hard time fitting in.  Thomas said her message for the day is about acceptance. 

"Hey, you're no different than I am.  I might be inflicted with an illness or what you deem a disability of my deafness, but I have the same heart as you do.  I have the same dreams as you do.  We're not different."


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