Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph will probably do some pretty amazing things on the football field during his upcoming junior season. But none of them will come even remotely close to matching the amazing moment he shared with a boy who has autism on Tuesday during the Seminoles' trip to a Tallahassee, Fla. middle school.
While visiting the school, Rudolph noticed the boy, later identified as Bo Paske, eating lunch all by himself in the cafeteria. So he sat down, asked the boy if he could eat with him, and then ate a couple slices of pizza with the boy while discussing FSU football with him. The boy’s mother Leah Paske found out about what Rudolph did for her son and put together a heartwarming Facebook post thanking him for doing it. That post has since gone viral. You can check out the post here:
You can also read the full text from the post here:
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! #travisrudolph #gonoles#autismmom #fansforlife
Rudolph spoke with the Tallahassee Democrat after having lunch with the boy and explained why he sat down with him in the first place.
"I saw him sitting there by himself so I had grabbed a plate of pizza and I asked him if I could sit with him and he said, 'Sure, why not?'" Rudolph said. "And I just felt like we had a great conversation. He started off so open and told me his name was Bo and how much he loves Florida State, and we went from there. It was real easy. It was real easy to conversate with him. You would never think anything is wrong with him. He had a nice smile on his face, just a really warm person."
He can try, but as we said, there’s just about no way Rudolph is going to top this moment during the upcoming college football season.