PHOTO: FSU football player shares lunch with boy with autism

PHOTO: FSU football player shares lunch with boy with autism

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTVM) – A Florida mom is singing the praises of a kind-hearted Florida State Seminoles football player having lunch with her son with autism.

Leah Paske said a friend sent her a photo of her son, Bo, and Travis Rudolph having lunch at his school on Tuesday. She posted the picture on her Facebook page, detailing her daily thoughts for her middle-school-aged son.

Paske says Bo, who has autism, doesn't notice a lot of things other kids his age would – being invited to birthday parties, or eating 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," Paske wrote. "Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn't seem to mind."

So when she saw the photo of the pair chatting in the cafeteria, it made the anxiety she feels for her son melt into tears.

"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," Paske said.

Rudolph was one a several Seminoles football players visiting the school. The 6'1" junior wide receiver from West Palm Beach, FL said in a video from the Tallahassee Democrat that it's important to him give back to his community, especially visiting with kids.

"I was just a kid not too long ago," Rudolph said. "And I remember what the impact was when I saw guys that played in college football and the NFL coming back to us. So I felt like maybe I could change someone's life or just make someone a better person and want to be great just like me, even better."

Rudolph told reporters that he saw Bo sitting alone, so he asked Bo if he could sit with him.

"He said, 'sure -why not,'," Rudolph said with a slight smile.

He said the two had a great conversation and that Bo was a warm person with a great smile. He said he didn't even know he had autism and that Bo is a great kid. 

Rudolph was one of five Seminoles that visited the middle school on Tuesday, and Noles head coach Jimbo Fisher said he's proud to highlight this special moment.

"You can change somebody's life – positively or negatively – every day," Fisher said. "(They're) making good choices. … Our guys love doing it. I'm telling you, you've to get around our guys like that. They're awesome, those kids."

You can read the rest of Paske's post here.

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