The Florida State University football team recently visited Montford Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida.
While visiting the school the players were encouraged to introduce themselves to the students, which is when wide receiver Travis Rudolph performed a random act of kindness that has captured the hearts of the internet.
Travis simply picked up his pizza and asked to join the table of a young man named Bo who was sitting alone. It might seem simple enough, but according to Bo’s mother Leah Paske, the event was significant for their whole family.
In an emotional Facebook post, Leah explained:
“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..." she wrote.
“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!”
After the heartwarming post went viral, ESPN spoke to Travis about the event.
He simply said: "I saw him...sitting by himself. I had got pizza and I asked him can I sit down with him, and he said 'sure, why not.' And we went from there and started a great conversation. I didn't even know he had autism...to find that it was just...heartbreaking that he's in that situation. But I'm praying for him, and I feel like he's a great kid overall."
It just goes to show it doesn't matter who you are or where you are, you can always brighten someone's day!