TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University wide receiver Travis Rudolph and other FSU players visited a Tallahassee middle school and the star athlete saw a young student sitting by himself.
Sixth-grader Bo Paske has autism and often eats by himself, his mother, Leah Paske, said in a Facebook post.
Rudolph, who is entering his junior season as a wide receiver on FSU’s football team, made headlines Wednesday after a random act of kindness was caught on camera and shared on social media. When Rudolph and his Seminoles teammates visited Montford Middle School in Tallahassee on Tuesday afternoon, he noticed Bo Paske was eating alone.
Rudolph decided to join the boy for lunch and, during the meal, a photograph was taken and sent to Bo’s mother, who posted it on Facebook.
“He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets,” Paske wrote in the Facebook post. “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.”
The Facebook post got back to Rudolph, who, like many who read the post, was nearly brought to tears by Leah’s words.
Palm Beach Post reported that Travis Rudolph’s mother, Linda Rudolph, was so touched by her son’s act that it made her cry.
“As a parent that really, really made me feel good because I always teach my kids (Travis, Terrenie, 31, and Darryl Jr., 24) that you never, ever judge anybody and you treat everybody with respect,” she said. “And you always remember that you can walk out that door and your whole life can change. He (displayed) all our values and goals and I’m happy about that because it makes a parent feel good to know your kids are doing the right thing on and off the field.”
As news spread of Rudolph’s act of kindness, support and praise rolled in on social media.
And FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher said he was “extremely proud” of Rudolph.