FSU player sits with sixth-grader with autism eating lunch alone

Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph eats lunch with sixth-grader Bo Paske. LEAH PASKE/FACEBOOK

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS)– 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.

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