Florida State Star Receiver Travis Rudolph Eats With Autistic Middle Schooler Sitting Alone At Lunch, Becomes Bro Hero

By 08.31.16
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Travis Rudolph is one of the best receivers in the country. Last year, as a sophomore, he led the Seminoles in receptions (59) and receiving yards (916) and topped off a stellar season with breaking the FSU receiving yards record in a Bowl game after racking up 7 receptions for 201 yards in the Peach Bowl.

The dude is primed to have a dominant junior season, and his actions off the field may bolster that with a little good karma.

Rudolph is pictured above with Bo Paske, an autistic middle schooler at Montford Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida. Several FSU players visited the middle school on Tuesday and stopped by the cafeteria during lunchtime. That’s when Rudolph saw Bo sitting at a table entirely by himself.

I’ll let Bo’s mom, who posted the story to Facebook, take it from here:

Several times lately I have tried to remember my time in middle school, did I like all my teachers, do I even remember them? Did I have many friends? Did I sit with anyone at lunch? Just how mean were kids really? I remember one kid on the bus called me “Tammy Fay Baker” bc I started awkwardly wearing eye liner in the sixth grade, I remember being tough and calling him a silly name back, but when he couldn’t see me anymore I cried. I do remember middle school being scary, and hard. Now that I have a child starting middle school, I have feelings of anxiety for him, and they can be overwhelming if I let them. 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. 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. It’s one of my daily questions for him. Was there a time today you felt sad? Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody. Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets. 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. 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

After the story went viral, Rudolph addressed the bro move:

“I was just a kid not too long ago and I remember what the impact was of guys that played in college and in the NFL coming back to us,” Rudolph said. “So I feel like maybe I can change someone’s life or I can make someone a better person or make someone want to be great or be like me, or even better.” [via ESPN]

Best of luck to you this season, Travis. As if you’ll need it.

TRAVIS RUDOLPH

More good news: COLLEGE FOOTBALL BEGINS THIS WEEKEND!

[h/t ESPN]


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