Remember a while back when a Florida State University football player went viral for sitting down with an autistic kid at lunch? The boy was sitting by himself because he’d been ostracized by his peers for being different, and seeing him with a guy who was beloved at the school not only made the boy’s mom cry, but ensured that he’d have friends to sit with for as long as the hubbub about his lunch date continued. It was a touching moment, and now the parent of another autistic child is calling it out for a very good reason.
According to The Huffingon Post, Bob Cornelius was heartbroken when he went to his son Christopher’s Back-to-School night and looked over a questionnaire his 11-year-old son had filled out about himself. On the form, Christopher, who’s on the autism spectrum, put down that his favorite food is pizza and that he loves to watch Elmo. But then, when it came time to write down who his friends were, Christopher was at a loss. His answer, which you can see below, just states “no one.” His father, writing about the incident, said “never have five letters ever cut so deep.”
Cornelius, who is cognizant of the fact that his child is different — he flaps his arms, he repeats the same questions, and he makes noises that other children may not understand — did some soul-searching and realized that this would be a good teachable moment, especially for those parents who’ve never considered telling their kids to try and befriend others who may be different. There’s no blame here; Cornelius just wants people to know how difficult it is to be a child living with autism and how much a friend could help.