By Craig Wall
OSWEGO, Illinois (WLS) — Andrew Schultz began the school year with no friends, and lunchtime was particularly difficult.
However, that all changed after his mom took to social media to ask for help.
“Tears of sadness that I wept for my son and now just filled of joy for him. I’m so happy for him,” said Lisa Schultz.
Now, that mother’s desperate plea for her son with autism turned his lunchroom loneliness into a field of dreams filled with new friends.
“They were, like, the best people who I’ve ever met in my life,” said the Oswego East junior, referring to the players on the high school sophomore football team.
That connection Andrew made was the answer to his mother’s greatest hope.
“I basically went in prayer and said, ‘God, send Andrew one friend,'” Lisa said. “He just said that he was sitting in the cafeteria by himself and just completely alone.”
She was heartbroken, so Lisa reached out on an Oswego Moms social media page pleading for someone to help.
“I just became desperate for my son,” she said.
The response started with one girl joining Andrew for lunch.
“Almost felt like I was being with people all of a sudden,” he said.
Then, sophomore football coach Tyler Allison got wind of the situation.
“I got my players in a group message and texted them, anybody that had that lunch, go and visit him and if you didn’t have the lunch just say hi to him in the hallways,” Allison said.
The next thing you know, Andrew had players sitting with him at lunch.
“At first, I didn’t want to hang out with them but then on Friday when we went to their game, it was like literally one of the best things I’ve ever seen,” Andrew said. said.
Andrew got invited to be the team manager and even got to do the coin toss before last Friday’s game.
“It was just so exciting because I just saw these players just loving on Andrew,” Lisa said.
They’ve made him a part of the Oswego East football family.
“Like, God, he gave me one of the best presents I have ever seen,” Andrew said smiling.
“I have cried so many times, just you know, the love that these kids have shown my son and it’s just that awareness and it’s just beautiful,” Lisa said.
This Friday, Andrew will be back on the field with the team for their next game, with the huddle now filled with hope.
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