The mother of an autistic schoolboy has been moved to tears, after a kind US footy champ sought out her lonely son and joined him for lunch, in an act that went viral on social media.
Grid-iron player Travis Rudolph had been visiting students at Montford Middle School in Florida with four other footy giants, when he spotted autistic sixth-grader Bo Paske at a table lunching on his own.
Travis, 20, immediately walked over to the boy and asked if he could sit with him, striking up a conversation. Soon the two were chatting away like old friends.
A pic of the sports star and his new young friend ended up online. And when Bo’s mother Leah learned that the footy hero had spent time with her boy, who eats alone most days, she was overcome.
‘I’m not sure what exactly a 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,’ Leah, who worries every day about her son’s loneliness, wrote.
‘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.’
Bo’s autism meant he wasn’t often invited to birthday parties and spent much of his time alone. ‘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,’ Leah wrote.
The footy star, from Florida State Uni, responded by saying the little boy was a ‘cool’ person who he would ’hang out with any day.’
‘I just saw him by himself and I was like, ‘can I have a seat with you, eat with you,’ and he was like, ‘sure why not,’ recounted the player. ‘We had a great conversation; he’s a great kid overall. I would hang out with him any day. He’s welcome to hang out with me.’