The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A boy with one hand met a soccer player with the same limb difference, and the photo went viral

Joseph Tidd, 1, meets Orlando Pride soccer player Carson Pickett after a game in June. Tidd and Pickett are both missing their lower left arms. (Courtesy of Colleen Tidd at (Colleen Tidd)

One-year-old Joseph Tidd and Orlando Pride player Carson Pickett have a lot in common: They both love soccer. They’re both athletic. And they both have partially formed left arms, which they tapped together last month in a photo that’s flying across the Internet.

The arm bump happened when Pickett, 25, jogged over to Joseph’s family after hearing them cheer at a home game. She repeatedly tapped her arm against his as he shrieked with glee, said Joseph’s mother, Colleen Tidd, who scrambled to take pictures as her husband held Joseph, decked out in a purple Pride T-shirt.

“In those situations, I want to be in the moment,” Tidd said in an interview Tuesday about the photo that’s gotten a lot of attention. “But then I realized, ‘Well, this is adorable.’ ”

Joseph spent the whole car ride home from the stadium looking at his arm and giggling, Tidd said, because he knew he had a friend.

‘It wasn’t in his job description’: Metro police officer escorts a mom and her tantruming autistic child home

About 2,250 babies with limb defects are born in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with arms or legs that failed to form completely during pregnancy may need help with daily tasks and sometimes feel self-conscious about their appearance.

Joseph, however, is a bundle of confidence — a fact that Tidd attributes to his meeting other people with the same limb difference. In addition to Pickett, Joseph has met Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin and Amy Alamillo Siesel, a member of Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit that celebrates people with limb differences.

Tidd, 28, said she found out when she was pregnant with Joseph that he would be born without one of his hands. She cried at first, but she said Lucky Fin helped her believe her son would be fine.

At 22 months old, Tidd said, Joseph is much more than fine. He used to be confused when kids would grab his arm, she said, and his older sister would explain that Joseph has a “lucky fin,” like the title character in the movie “Finding Nemo.”

Now, Joseph introduces himself to the other children. “I’m Joe Joe,” he says. Then he points to his arm and jokes that he bit off his missing hand. His parents don’t know where he came up with that story, Tidd said, but they’re glad he’s taking ownership of his uniqueness.

‘I can’t believe it!’: Hundreds of D.C.-area kids see the circus courtesy of local churches

Pickett, a defender, came onto the Tidd family’s radar while she was playing for the Seattle Reign because, like Joseph, she had a congenital limb difference. Pickett joined the Pride last year, and the Tidds were excited that she would be playing near their Orlando-area home.

Joseph first met Pickett after the Pride’s home opener in April, when a Fox 35 Orlando reporter they knew worked with the soccer team to make the connection. The Tidd family wore No. 16 Pickett jerseys to cheer her on.

After the game, Tidd said, Pickett spent half an hour playing with Joseph while Joseph’s father, Miles, compared notes with Pickett’s parents about raising a child who has one hand. Joseph and Pickett played peekaboo by pulling their shirt sleeves over their arms, Tidd said.

“It took a minute for him to realize, ‘Wow, we’ve got the same arms,’ and then he just giggled,” Tidd said. “You could see it hit him, and then they were best friends after that.”

View this post on Instagram

SWEETEST REACTION 💜🧡💜🧡 . . I wanted to share this quick clip from our meeting with Carson the other day. For anyone who has asked “do they really know their different”, just watch this video. . . You can see the moment that Joseph pauses, the look on his face changes...he is thinking hard as he’s studying Carson’s arm. Then the joy that washes over him as he realizes “she’s just like me”. The smile and giggle followed by the unprompted desire to show his arm to Carson. . . This was the moment I love to see when those with a lucky fin connect. We have been lucky enough to see this several times at our lucky fin meet ups with other kids and adults. If you haven’t had a chance to attend a local meet up, go check out the Facebook page for your local chapter for more info. We will be at the Central Florida meet up for those in the Orlando area. . . Here are some pictures from the local news story with Carson on Tuesday. The link to the interview with Joseph and Carson is in our Bio. We even bumped into Bo Outlaw which made for an awesome picture with little Joseph. . . #luckyfinfamily #orlandopride #orlandomagic #booutlaw #tenfingersareoverrated #fox35 #fox35orlando #localnews #locals #heros #mentors #happiness #purehappiness #understand #bond #preciousmoments #heknows #coolarm #joy #giggles #newfriends #centralflorida #proud #limbdifferenceawareness #limbdifferenceawarenessmonth #biggerthansoccer #biggerthanbasketball

A post shared by Joseph Tidd (@tiddbit_outta_hand) on

Pickett also inspires Joseph’s sisters, who are 4 and 14 years old, to keep from worrying about their younger brother’s “lucky fin,” Tidd said. Although people may stare or ask questions, Tidd said Pickett’s self-assuredness gives Joseph’s sisters confidence in their brother.

Colleen and Miles Tidd document their son’s adventures on an Instagram page called “tiddbit_outta_hand,” which they hope will remind their son and others with limbs like his that although they may do something differently from others, they should take pride in who they are.

“It’s just showing that he might be unique, but he’s no different than anyone else,” Colleen Tidd said. “He’s going to be able to accomplish it all.”

Read more:

This town’s solution to loneliness? The ‘chat bench.’

Three young brothers started a candle company to buy themselves toys. Now they donate $500 a month to the homeless.

A mobile clinic is helping low-income students to see clearly — one pair of glasses at a time