Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph hasn’t made a catch this season. He hasn’t scored a touchdown.
But with one gesture, he became among the most popular of Florida State University Seminoles.
Rudolph and several of his teammates were at the Montford Middle School cafeteria in Tallahassee on Monday when Rudolph noticed a child eating by himself. Rudolph decided to join the youngster.
As it turns out, it was Bo Paske, a child with autism who dines by himself on a lot of days.
“I asked if I could sit next to him, and he said, ‘Sure, why not?’,” Rudolph told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday. “I just felt like we had a great conversation.
“He started off and was so open. He told me his name was Bo, and how much he loves Florida State, and he went from there.”
Someone snapped a photo, and it found its way to Paske’s mother, Leah.
“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,” Leah Paske said in a Facebook message. “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.”
Said Seminoles Coach Jimbo Fisher: “You can affect people in a lot of ways. Make somebody’s day by being yourself, and going and spreading the word, and understanding the impact you have as an athlete and role model to people in the community.
“I was extremely proud of him. He made some young man’s day.”