The Beautiful Message Behind That Viral Photo of a Little Boy Comforting a Classmate With Autism

"Our young boys need to be taught how to be kind and compassionate."

The first day of school can be hard on any child, as they tearfully wrench themselves away from their parents and take those brave first steps into the unknown. But it can be particularly difficult for a child with autism, as the neurobehavioral condition makes communicating emotions and interacting with peers especially challenging. No one knows that more than 8-year-old Connor Crites, a second grader with autism at Minneha Core Knowledge Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas.

On the first day of school, Christian Moore, also eight, saw Connor crying after being dropped off at school. So, he took his hand and gently guided him inside.

Christian's mother, Courtney Moore, managed to capture the moment on camera and shared the photo on Facebook, writing, "I'm so proud of my son…It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child!" Their sweet moment has since gone viral, gaining more than 44,000 likes since it was posted on August 14th.

Christian holds hand of autistic boy Connor on the first day of school
Courtesy of Courtney Coko Moore

"I believe that it is important to teach our children morals and respect," Moore told Best Life. "Our young boys need to be taught how to be kind and compassionate towards others."

A second photo taken moments after the first shows how much of a soothing effect the gesture had on Connor. "[Christian] was kind to me," Connor told a local ABC News affiliate. "He found me and held my hand and I got happy tears."

christian moore comforts connor crites on first day of school
Courtesy of Courtney Moore

Christian and Connor have since become friends, and so have Moore and Connor's mother, April Crites. "We are embracing this moment together with our sons and I hope that we all have a lifetime of friendship," she said.

Moore also hopes that the photo will inspire others to remember that, sometimes, a small act of kindness can make all the difference.

"We have to get back to basics," she said. "Love. Love is kind. Love is patient. Love endures all things. We have to change our hearts back to showing love again."

And for another heartwarming story, check out These Assisted Living Residents Are Going Viral for Their Heartwarming "Back to School" Photos.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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