For toddler Joseph Tidd, a day at the soccer pitch turned into a major bonding moment when he met Carson Pickett, a soccer player missing her forearm — just like him.
Back in early June, Joseph’s father, Miles, took him to the season opener for the Orlando Pride, a U.S. women’s professional soccer team in Florida.
As the game came to a close, Pride defender Pickett spotted the boy in the stands.
Like an old friend, she ran over to give him a fist bump, resulting in a series of sweet photos that have captured hearts worldwide.
“Carson knew we were going to be at the game… it’s always like that, the fist bumps, the hugs, the high fives,” Tidd told Global News in a phone interview. “That’s the funny thing about it. For us, it’s just a normal moment. We take it for granted, I guess.”
Both born without their left forearms, Tidd hopes that seeing such a strong role model like Pickett, 25, following her athletic dreams will inspire his son in the future.
“He doesn’t see Carson as a celebrity or a sports star,” he said. “He just sees and says, ‘Hey, she’s just like me.'”
When Tidd found out his son would be born without a forearm, he admits to feeling upset.
“When I found out that Joseph was missing a hand, I was kind of selfish and the first thing I thought of was, ‘How am I going to throw a ball with you?'” he said. “And you know what? I’m sure when he’s older he’ll think about those things.”
But seeing people like Pickett thriving despite her lack of forearm, there’s no doubt in Tidd’s mind that Joseph will accomplish anything he puts his mind to.
“You want to play soccer at the highest level and you don’t think you can play because you don’t have your hand? Look at Carson,” Tidd said. “You can do anything.”
“For us to see Joseph as he gets older and grows up, ‘Yes, you can play football if you want to,'” he said.
Though the photos were shared across the globe on Sunday, this actually wasn’t the first time Pickett and Joseph had met.
In fact, the duo have hung out three times since April.
Tidd and his wife, Colleen, reached out to the Orlando Pride to see if they could score a meet-and-greet with Pickett. They were surprised when the team offered a 30-minute hangout session with the defender, who, according to Tidd, insisted they not be in a rush.
“They played hide-and-seek with their arms, they ran around the room,” he said. “I her dad and mom lots of questions, they just played.”
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"If I can inspire one, and they can inspire others, soon we'll inspire thousands." – @shaquem_griffin 🤜👏💚💙🤩 Shaquem – Thank you for letting us follow your journey all of these years. You are so kind, positive and upbeat. You're a remarkable person who helps raise awareness, just by being yourself. Joseph's life will be easier thanks to you. Today was amazing! #tenfingersareoverrated #ucfalumni #seahawkskids #orlandokids @brooksrehab #shaquemgriffin #inspire #henryviscardiawards
As it turns out, Joseph has met a number of star athletes. In February, the young boy had a chance encounter with Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffen.
Just like Joseph, Griffen also lives with a limb difference, having had his left hand amputated when he was a child.
And while the boy’s roster of famous friends continues to grow, to Joseph they’re just “regular people.”
“He doesn’t know who they are. He could care less,” Tidd said. “They’re not celebrities, they’re not sports heroes, they’re just regular people.”
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