Joseph Tidd, a 21-month-old from Florida, is seen in professional soccer player Carson Pickett. Both were born without a left forearm and the couple has shared a special connection since they were first introduced in a game in April.
Although Joseph is too young to express what Pickett, 25, means to him, his mother, Colleen Tidd, captured a moment that tells him everything he needs to know. In the image that went viral on Sunday, Joseph and the Orlando Pride defender are seen punching their fists after a game, and their joy is palpable.
"The look on their faces says it all," one person wrote. I added another: "This has me all drowned. Incredible."
Joseph's father, Miles Tidd, will never forget his son's initial reaction to meeting Pickett last spring.
"Carson knelt beside Joseph and showed him his arm," Miles told TODAY Parents. "It was this instant link that we cannot begin to understand."
Meanwhile, Miles and Colleen have formed their own friendship with the parents of soccer star Treasure and Mike Pickett. "For us this is great because we can ask those difficult questions about how to deal with thugs," said Miles TODAY. Miles also admires that the Picketts never allowed their daughter to use the words "I can't."
"Carson thinks he can do anything, and that's the mentality we want Joseph to have, too," said Miles.
Pickett is grateful for the opportunity to inspire others. "I can use my arm for something bigger than me," he told The Guardian in 2018. "I am able to impact so many children and people who may not see a way out. It doesn't have to impact them through football." "Seeing that I am succeeding in life and happy in life can go a long way for some people."
There is a possibility that Joseph will follow Carson's steps. The little boy is a natural athlete who learned to hang on the monkey bars.
"Soccer, basketball, baseball, soccer, he does it all," Colleen told TODAY Padres. "He manages his arm a little differently, but it makes it work."
José not only has a great attitude, he also has a sense of humor. "Joseph has been telling other children that he bit his arm," Colleen laughed. "He just created his own little story and leaves with her!"