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American football player Travis Rudolph made sure a boy with autism didn’t eat lunch alone

'I was extremely proud of him. He made some young man's day'

Matt Bonesteel
Thursday 01 September 2016 09:06 BST

While visiting Montford Middle School in Tallahassee on Tuesday with several of his Florida State football teammates, Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph noticed a boy eating lunch by himself.

"I asked if I could sit next to him, and he said, 'Sure, why not?' " Rudolph said Tuesday, per the Orlando Sentinel. "I just felt like we had a great conversation.

"He started off and was so open. He told me his name was Bo, and how much he loves Florida State, and he went from there."

Someone snapped a photo of the two eating together and sent it to Bo's mother, Leah Paske, who was overcome with gratitude for the nice gesture.

"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," she wrote on Facebook. "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"

Here's her full post, with a photo:

"It was really easy to [talk] with him," Rudolph said. "He had a nice smile on his face. He was a really warm person."

Said Seminoles Coach Jimbo Fisher: "You can affect people in a lot of ways. That's the way you affect people. Make somebody's day by being yourself, and going and spreading the word, and understanding the impact you have as an athlete and role model to people in the community.

"I was extremely proud of him. He made some young man's day."

Copyright: Washington Post

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