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Boy with autism befriended by Florida State’s Travis Rudolph no longer eats lunch alone

The picture that launched a thousand “Awwwwwws.” (Michael Halligan via AP)

On Tuesday, a photo of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph eating lunch with a lonely autistic boy at a Florida middle school set the Internet aflame with good feelings. On Thursday, Rudolph joined Bo Paske and his mother, Leah, on “Fox and Friends” to talk about their sudden viral notoriety.

A Florida State player made sure an autistic boy didn’t eat lunch alone

For starters, Bo no longer eats alone.

“Actually, yesterday, in the cafeteria he was sitting at a table full of girls,” Leah Paske said. “He was the most popular kid in the room … he had a seat at the table full of people.”

Rudolph said he didn’t think his one small gesture would become such a newsworthy event, but he seems glad that it did.

“I didn’t even recognize that it would be this big,” he said. “It just became really viral, and I just wanted it to become aware that everyone is the same, and one man can make a difference.”

Bo got a signed lunchbox, he said, and pretty much seems like the happiest middle-schooler in the country right now.

“It was kind of like me sitting on a rainbow,” he said.

Said Leah Paske, who met Rudolph for the first time on “Fox and Friends”: “I’m actually pretty overwhelmed, pretty emotional. Seeing the picture for the first time was, it was, I was just overcome with emotion. I was so grateful; he’s a superstar here. To go into a crowded lunch room where I’m sure he was being flagged down and waved at and that he would choose Bo to sit with, I don’t even have words to express how grateful I am.”