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29 August 2019, 14:34
A photo of a schoolboy comforting his autistic classmate's hand has been shared more than 20,000 times.
An adorable photo of a child holding his crying classmate's hand at school has gone viral.
The heartwarming act of kindness was captured by mum Courtney Moore who shared the snap of her son Christian's first day of second grade at Minneha Elementary School.
In the picture, eight-year-old Christian bends down to comfort his classmate Connor who was visibly upset outside the school gates.
The image has now been shared over 21,000 times and has led to the creation of a Facebook group called "Christian & Connor Bridging The Gap".
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...Posted by Courtney Coko Moore on Wednesday, 14 August 2019
One Facebook user commented: "How beautiful! Children are always teaching us to be better! ❤️"
Another replied: "Big heart for a little guy. We can all learn from him," while a third added: "I don’t know you but I’m proud, I hope they indeed become great friends."
Connor - who has autism - explained to local news station KAKE: "[Christian] was kind to me. I started crying and then he helped me.
"And, I was happy... He found me and held my hand and I got happy tears."
Christian's mum, Courtney explained the “inseparable bond” between the boys, as she said: "I saw [Christian] on the ground with Connor as Connor was crying in the corner and he was consoling him.
"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."
April Crites - who is Connor's mother - took to Facebook to thank Christian for his gesture.
She wrote: "I worry every day 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."
His grandmother Daisy Harjo added: "Thank you so much ma'am for raising such a wonderful child.
"More parents need to teach their children how to be compassionate."
April later told KAKE: "I fear every day that someone is going to laugh at him because he doesn't speak correctly, or laugh at him because he doesn't sit still or because he jumps up and down and flaps his hands.
"It doesn't matter colour, it doesn't matter gender, it doesn't matter disability, and it doesn't matter anything, just be kind, open your heart... it's what we need in this world."