Kindness, compassion, and friendship are virtues that remain alive and well, as shown by a photo taken by a mother in Wichita Kansas. The picture, already shared over 2,000 times on social media, was taken on the first day of school at Minneha Elementary. In the photo, one eight-year-old, Christian, can be seen comforting and holding hands with his new classmate, Connor, who was overwhelmed and crying on his first day of school. Christian’s mother, Courtney Moore, explained the context for the photo in an emotional post on Facebook.
“I'm so proud of my son," Moore, who took the photo, wrote. "He seen a kid balled up into a corner crying, so he went to console him, grabbed his hand and walked him inside of the school! It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child! He's a kid with a Big heart, the first day of school started off right."
The post caught the attention of Connor’s mother, April Crites. In a comment on the post, Crites explained that Connor has autism, and that she is often anxious he might experience bullying at school.
“That little boy he [Christian] helped is my son and is autistic,” Crites wrote. “I worry everyday that he is going to get bullied for being different and your son just absolutely warmed my heart. If there were more children like him I wouldn't worry about such things.”
In her response, Moore wrote that Christian also struggles with speech (a common challenge for children with autism), and that both he and Connor are unique in their own ways.
“I hope that this will be the beginning of a new friendship for both of our sons,” Crites wrote. “Your son was so sweet.”
Connor also expressed appreciation for Christian’s kind gesture, according to the Witchita TV station KAKE.
“He was kind to me,” Connor told KAKE. “It was in the first day of school. I started crying then. He helped me and I was happy."
Christian, for his part, added that he doesn’t see Connor any differently for having autism, and simple appreciates him as his classmate and friend. This sentiment was echoed by Connor’s mother April.
“It doesn't matter color, it doesn't matter gender, it doesn't matter disability and it doesn't matter anything, just be kind, open your heart,” she told KAKE. “That’s what we need in this world.”