It was a busy and exciting day yesterday for the students at Montford Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida.
Some players from the illustrious Florida State football team visited the school to speak to students, teaching kids about the importance and duality of athletics and education.
But the actions of one player in particular, wide receiver Travis Rudolph, have made headlines today.
Rudolph saw Bo Paske, a sixth-grader with a badass name, eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. Rudolph felt compelled to join Paske for lunch, striking the sixth-grader up in conversation.
While Rudolph simply saw a kid eating lunch alone and thought it would be a kind gesture to accompany him, it turns out the cafeteria is a rather intimidating place for young Paske, who is autistic.
A friend of Paske’s mother, Leah, sent the picture of Rudolph sitting with her son.
In a heartfelt Facebook post, Leah Paske detailed some of the anxieties of having an autistic child, and also how much it meant to her that Rudolph went out of his way to sit with her son.
As for Rudolph, the junior wide reciever called the situation a “blessing for him and me,” saying that he didn’t know that Bo is autistic and that he was just a “cool” and “normal” kid.
— FSU Football (@FSU_Football) August 31, 2016
This is what makes this story so inspirational. Rudolph was not aware that Bo Paske sits alone every day in the cafeteria. Or that Paske’s mother worries about her son’s relationships with his classmates.
Travis Rudolph was not trying to make headlines, or go viral, when he approached Bo Paske in the Monford Middle School cafeteria. Rudolph simply saw a young sixth-grader in need of some companionship.
Over here at The Social Man, we commend Mr. Rudolph. He is an example of positive mentorship to young men everywhere.
We’ll be watching Travis on the gridiron all season and wish him the best. As for Bo Paske, something tells us he’s not going to be sitting alone in the cafeteria anymore.