Bob Cornelius is a dad from New Jersey whose son is 11 years old. The boy’s name is Christopher and he recently had a school project which required to list some facts about his life.
At first, Bob was amused by his son’s answers, but then he saw something that left him heartbroken.
Christopher wrote “No one” where he had to write the names of his friends.
Bob Cornelius wrote a post on Facebook to express his feeling about it, and his post went viral right away. It was shared about 30,000 times in a very short time.
Here is what he wrote:
'For those of you who don’t know, my youngest son, Christopher, is on the autistic spectrum.
I went to his back to school night on Thursday and took a picture of one of his projects displayed on the wall, one of many cute little cards that all the kids in his class had filled out. It asked him to list his favorite foods, sport, TV shows etc.
I took the picture hurriedly and didn’t notice all the answers he had filled out at that time. It was only after I got home that something stood out upon closer review...
There’s no easy answer for this... at the end of the day it comes down to compassion, empathy, and understanding…
I guess I’m sharing this because when asked to list his friends he wrote “no one”. Never have five letters cut so deep, and they weren’t even directed at me….it was just an overly simplistic statement that spoke volumes.'
Then he came up with an idea that could change lives of children on the autistic spectrum:
'The only solution I can come up with is to share this with you and ask that you have a conversation with your kids. Please tell them that children with special needs understand far more than we give them credit for.
They notice when others exclude them. They notice when they are teased behind their back (a lot of times “behind their back” is right in front of them because they think the ‘different’ child doesn’t understand). But mostly they are very much in tune when they are treated differently from everyone else.
Trust me when I tell you this hurts them. Even if it’s not obvious to you and me.'
He had also mentioned a mom, Leah Paske, whose son has autism too. No one wanted to sit with him until FSU football player Travis Rudolph did it while eating his lunch.
It was a very emotional moment that was also shared throughout the world on Facebook as 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. Travis Rudolph, a wide receiver at Florida State, and several other FSU players visited my son's school today.
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!'
Do you see how important such kindness is?