No one asked him to do it. It wasn’t an orchestrated surprise, it wasn’t some secret plan to lift the spirits of a little boy.
It was all by chance. At the time, in 2016, Travis Rudolph was a wide receiver at Florida State University.
Although it was expected, no one knew at the time that by April of 2017, Travis would be drafted to the New York Giants.
When he was still just the star athlete at FSU, he and a few of his fellow players were visiting a middle school. During lunch, Travis grabbed a slice of pizza. He noticed one little boy was eating by himself.
He asked the boy if he could sit next to him and they began to chat.
What Travis didn’t know was that the boy, Beau Paske, sits alone every single day.
Beau has autism and trouble making friends. A family friend snapped a photo and sent it to the boy’s mom, Leah Paske. Once she realized who Travis Rudolph was, she immediately began to cry.
Paske penned an emotional letter to Travis: “It’s one of my daily questions for him… Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody,” Leah wrote. “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.”
But that wasn’t the end of Travis and Beau’s story. When Travis read the letter, he cried himself. He gave Beau his phone number so they could chat any time. He surprised him with an FSU jersey. They became real buddies.
When Beau returned to school, he didn’t sit alone anymore.
“I’m a superstar; everybody recognizes me,” Beau said.
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