FSU football player, Travis Rudolph, makes sure a boy with autism has someone to sit with at lunch.
This Florida State University (FSU) football player is not only capturing the hearts of millions on the football field but also in a Tallahassee Middle School cafeteria. Earlier this week FSU football players visited Tallahassee’s Montford Middle School and had lunch with a couple students. As everyone was getting settled in for lunch, FSU’s wide receiver, Travis Rudolph, noticed a six grade boy (Bo Paske) who was sitting by himself. Travis walked over to Bo’s table and asked if he could sit down with him. After much conversation regarding football and the NFL, their lunchtime ended with Travis referring to Bo as a ‘cool’ person that he would hang out with any day.
What Travis didn’t realize was that his pleasant lunch with Bo that Tuesday afternoon meant more to him and his mother than he could have ever imagined. A few hours after their interaction, Bo’s mother wrote a post about Travis’s kindness and why this lunch meant so much to her. With Bo being on the autism spectrum, she has always feared that he wouldn’t be acknowledged socially by his peers and worried that her son would be alone with no friends to be around while he was at school. Bo often spoke to his mother about having to eat lunch by himself and not being invited to social events such as birthday parties or other gatherings.
Middle school is a hard time for anyone. With the pressure to be liked, the anxiety of having to go to more than one classroom, and then the stress of having to figure out where you belong, one can see how challenging this can be. Then, being a middle school child coupled with being on the autism spectrum becomes an even more difficult hill to climb. Parents of children on the autism spectrum often have worries about their child’s interactions with others. “Will they fit it?” “Will they have friends?” These are questions that will circle a parent’s mind all throughout their child’s school career and can be intensified for a parent with a child with autism. Bo’s mother is no exception. Yet that Tuesday afternoon Bo didn’t have to worry about any of the social pressures. All he had to do was accept an invitation to join a new friend for lunch. It didn’t matter that Bo has autism and Travis was in the limelight. All they cared about was football. Let’s play our part by welcoming others and you may find out that there’s actually more in common than you might think.
To learn more about Bo’s and Travis’s interaction Click Here