#FSU @TravisRudolph5 | Sits With Bo, 6th Grader with Autism Eating Lunch Alone
Leah Paske’s heart sinks a little bit every time her sixth grade son tells her he ate lunch alone again. The young boy with autism doesn’t seem to notice or care, but that doesn’t stop his hopeful mother from asking him after school if things were different today — if he finally found someone to sit with. “Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody,” the mom wrote in a viral Facebook post with more than 7,000 shares. “Those are the days I feel sad for him.”
But on Tuesday, Bo’s mom cried tears of joy when she found out her son didn’t spend another lunch alone. He spent it with Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph. “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,” Paske 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.”
Rudolph and several other FSU players were visiting Montford Middle School in Tallahassee when the wide receiver spotted the middle schooler sitting at a large lunch table by himself. Without giving it a second thought, the player plopped down across from Bo to eat a slice of pizza. He didn’t know that this small decision would make such a big impact on the boy and his mother.
The college junior told CBS affiliate WCTV that he read Paske’s Facebook post before practice on Tuesday, and it nearly brought tears to his eyes. “He’s a cool person, I’ll hang out with him any day.
And for the mom, if he needs my (cell) number, he can get it,” Rudolph told WCTV sports anchor Kenny Morales. The boy’s mother thanked the player for his “amazing” offer. “[Bo] is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets,” she said.Maybe he’ll save one for Rudolph the next time he sees him.
Watch video on the left
The full text of the post on Mom’s Facebook page:
Several times lately I have tried to remember my time in middle school, did I like all my teachers, do I even remember them? Did I have many friends? Did I sit with anyone at lunch? Just how mean were kids really? I remember one kid on the bus called me “Tammy Fay Baker” bc I started awkwardly wearing eye liner in the sixth grade, I remember being tough and calling him a silly name back, but when he couldn’t see me anymore I cried. 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. 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. 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! #travisrudolph #gonoles#FSU #autismmom #fansforlife