TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida woman shared a heartwarming photo on Facebook this week of a college football player sharing a meal with her son who has autism.
"I had tears streaming down my face," Paske said on Facebook, sharing the image with her friends. "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 said she has been very anxious about her son starting middle school, so the kind act meant everything to her.
"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," she said. "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."
Paske said she asks her son every day about lunch and who he ate with. She said most days his answer is "nobody."
"Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn't' seem to mind," Paske said. "He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets."
According to Paske, Rudolph and several other FSU football players visited her son's school on Tuesday, and on that day she said she didn't have to worry about her child eating alone.
"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," she said. "Travis Rudolph thank you so much, you made this momma exceedingly happy, and have made us fans for life!"
Rudolph told Seminoles.com he saw the child sitting alone and decided to make his way over to him, hoping to make a positive impact. He said their conversation came easily.