Young Child With Autism Ate Lunch Everyday Alone, Until Famous Athlete Befriends Him

Updated September 1, 2016

With the start of the college football season hours away, the Florida State Seminoles still find time to help out in their local community. While the Seminoles are poised to have a great football season, their work on the field won’t be able to compare to what their receiver Travis Rudolph did off the field on Tuesday.

Rudolph and a number of his teammates took time out of their busy schedules to visit Montford Middle School in Tallahassee to greet the students. They arrived at lunch time.

But when Rudolph noticed one little boy eating all by himself, he decided to do something great. He pulled up a seat next to the little guy and showed everyone at the school how cool the little boy really was…

Rudolph had no idea that his little act of kindness would be so well received with everyone on social media. And that one small gesture meant the world to the little lonely boy named Bo Paske who has autism.

Because his classmates can’t relate to him, Bo often finds himself sitting alone at lunch.

The best part was that Rudolph wasn’t doing it for publicity, he simply wanted to be nice to the kid. And when he learned about the now-viral Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon, “it nearly brought tears to his eyes.”

Here’s what Bo’s mom Leah Paske shared on Facebook about the small act of kindness:


“Several times lately I have tried to remember my time in middle school, did I like all my teachers, do I even remember them? Did I have many friends? Did I sit with anyone at lunch? Just how mean were kids really? I remember one kid on the bus called me “Tammy Fay Baker” bc I started awkwardly wearing eye liner in the sixth grade, I remember being tough and calling him a silly name back, but when he couldn’t see me anymore I cried.

“I do remember middle school being scary, and hard. Now that I have a child starting middle school, I have feelings of anxiety for him, and they can be overwhelming if I let them. Sometimes I’m grateful for his autism. That may sound like a terrible thing to say, but in some ways I think, I hope, it shields him. He doesn’t seem to notice when people stare at him when he flaps his hands. He doesn’t seem to notice that he doesn’t get invited to birthday parties anymore. And he doesn’t seem to mind if he eats lunch alone. It’s one of my daily questions for him. Was there a time today you felt sad? Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody. Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets.

“A friend of mine sent this beautiful picture to me today and when I saw it with the caption “Travis Rudolph is eating lunch with your son” I replied “who is that?” He said “FSU football player”, then I had tears streaming down my face. Travis Rudolph, a wide receiver at Florida State, and several other FSU players visited my sons school today. I’m not sure what exactly made this incredibly kind man share a lunch table with my son, but I’m happy to say that it will not soon be forgotten. This is one day I didn’t have to worry if my sweet boy ate lunch alone, because he sat across from someone who is a hero in many eyes. Travis Rudolph thank you so much, you made this momma exceedingly happy, and have made us fans for life!”

It’s great to see football players using their popularity and status to help other people.

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