This week, a group of football players from Florida State University were visiting a local middle school when wide receiver Travis Rudolph noticed one student named Bo sitting all by himself at lunch.
In an interview on FSU’s website, Rudolph later explained, “He was sitting by himself. I had got some pizza. I asked him can I sit down with him. He said sure why not. We started a great conversation. It’s just heartbreaking that he’s in that situation, but I’m praying for him.”
Unbeknownst to Rudolph, a staff member snapped a picture of the duo hanging out, and sent it to the young boy’s mother. Moved, she shared it on Facebook and explained why it meant so much. It turns out, her son is autistic and eats alone almost every day. She wrote:
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.
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!
The school has since invited Bo and his mom to a team dinner, and one of their games next week.