Bo Paske, a 6th grade student at Montford Middle School in Tallahassee, is autistic. He’s a sweet child with a smile and hug for everyone. For whatever reason, he almost always sits alone at the lunch table. His mother thinks his autism in some ways shields him from noticing he does not get invited to birthday parties, and that he eats lunch alone. But one special day last year was different. Travis Rudolph, then a junior and a wide receiver at FSU, was visiting the school, saw Bo sitting by himself, and so joined him for a slice of pizza. The impact on Bo was huge.
“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,” said Bo’s mother. “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!”
“He’s a cool person, I’ll hang out with him any day,” said Rudolph. The two have remained in contact for the past year. Rudolph has sent tickets for Bo and his mother to come to FSU games, and he gave Bo a personalized jersey. Rudolph recently signed a pro contract with the NY Giants, and among those in attendance at the draft party was Bo Paske.
Do you remember middle school? That some students can be mean and others can be lonely. Did you have friends? Do you remember anyone sitting by themselves in the cafeteria? What can we all do today to combat bullying? To help all have good experiences and good memories of school? And we all need to teach our kids how a small act of kindness can make a big difference.
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- Published in Sports