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Football player who sat with autistic boy at lunch gives family game tickets


ORLANDO – A random act of kindness has gone viral, and now two unlikely friends have been reunited in Orlando.

On Monday, Florida State University wide receiver Travis Rudolph gave sixth-grader Bo Paske tickets to the big game.

The duo’s friendship began last week when Rudolph visited Paske’s middle school.

Rudolph saw Paske, who is autistic, eating lunch alone and asked if he could join him.

“When I asked him (if I could) sit down with him, he just welcomed me to him. He was like, ‘Sure, why not?’” said Rudolph.

Paske said he had fun eating with his new friend.

“He asked me, ‘Are you going to play in the NBA?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And I said to Travis, ‘Are you in the NFL?’ and he said, ‘Not yet,’” Paske said.

The chance encounter made headlines after Paske’s mother, Leah Paske, posed a health-felt thank you to Rudolph on Facebook, saying, “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.”

“I just made an example. Everybody’s the same. Everybody is great, regardless of what they’re going through,” Rudolph said.

Leah Paske said that she just wanted Rudolph and his school to know how far one kind gesture can go.

“Just a small act could have such an impact on me, on Bo. On so many people,” Leah Paske said. “I just don’t have words to express (how it feels that) he chose Bo to sit with.”

She added that she continued to get messages from families across the country, thanking her for sharing her son’s story.

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