"He was kind to me," Conner Crites says of his new friend Christian Moore
A photo of an 8-year-old boy holding the hand of a crying classmate with autism on the first day of school has gone viral.
Christian Moore was preparing to start his first day of second grade at Minneha Core Knowledge Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas, earlier this month when he spotted a classmate, Conner Crites, crying in a corner, according to WTVR. Conner has autism and struggles with speech, WTVR reported.
“I’m so proud of my son, 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!” Courtney Moore wrote of her son in a Facebook post. “It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child! He’s a big kid with a Big heart, the first day of school started off right.”
Photos of the moment showed Christian holding Conner’s hand as Conner appeared upset with his head down while holding his lunch box. Another picture showed Christian continuing to hold the little boy’s hand after Conner lifted his head.
“This made me sad, but also absolutely warmed my heart,” Conner’s mom, April Crites, wrote in a Facebook post of her own. “I’m so happy a caring little boy was so kind to my baby.”
April told Today that she expected the first day of school to be “overwhelming” for Conner. But, she said, she never imagined another student would step up in such a way.
“I started crying when I saw the picture. I couldn’t believe it,” April told the outlet. “The fact that Christian was able to be there and comfort Conner with a simple gesture, was just awesome. I’m not even able to do that!”
She added that she worries other children might pick on Conner for his differences; he flaps his hands and it can be difficult to understand his speech.
“But knowing Conner has Christian now makes me feel so much better. It alleviates some of the anxiety,” she told Today. “Christian is Conner’s first real friend. I’m so excited we have someone to invite for a birthday party.”
Courtney said the gesture marked the beginning of a friendship.
“I saw him on the ground with Conner as Conner was crying in the corner and he was consoling him,” Courtney told KAKE of Christian. “He grabs his hand and walks him to the front door. We waited until the bell rang and he walked him inside of the school. The rest is history. They have an inseparable bond.”
As for Conner, the little boy couldn’t help but gush about the incident.
“He found me and held my hand and I got happy tears,” he told KAKE of Christian. “He was kind to me. I was in the first day of school and I started crying then he helped me and I was happy.”