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One sweet gesture by FSU’s Travis Rudolph makes mom of boy with autism cry

Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph will be an impact playmaker for the Seminoles offense on the field this season, but on Tuesday, he played an even more important role off the field — just by taking some time out of his day to have lunch with a middle schooler with autism who normally eats alone.

Rudolph was at the middle school Tuesday afternoon when he spotted the student sitting by himself, so he walked over and decided to enjoy a couple slices of pizza with the boy. Little did he know why the child was sitting alone, nor the impact his simple, sweet action would have on the boy’s mother.


Here’s what Leah Paske, the boy’s mother, had to say on Facebook after she learned about Rudolph’s gesture.

“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.

“A friend of mine sent this beautiful picture


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