Memorable photos of the two friends at a soccer game have stolen many hearts.
Apparently, you only need one hand to steal a heart. It’s a trick that Carson Pickett and Joseph Tidd seem to have played on each other, as well as on the countless people who have seen the memorable photos of them “arm bumping” each other at a soccer game in early June (Pickett is a pro soccer player for the Orlando Pride). The photo shows Carson, who was born with only half of a left arm, with an ear-to-ear grin as she greets 22-month-old Joseph, who was born with the same limb difference.
Although the photo at the soccer game is the one that has gotten the most attention—going viral on social media and also getting coverage on television news shows—it’s not the first time the two have come together and greeted each other in this fashion. They met for the first time after an earlier game on April 15, when a Fox 35 Orlando television reporter they knew arranged for the meeting to happen, according to the Washington Post.
The family posted a video of the encounter on their Instagram account, and it’s adorable. Carson hunches down in front of Joseph and says, “We have cool arms!” showing him her short arm and pointing back and forth between her arm and his. It takes little Joseph a moment to figure it out, then he giggles and smiles.
Another video shows them a few moments later playing something like peekaboo, covering and uncovering their handless arms, laughing and smiling. They are clearly enchanted with each other!
Their mutual reaction at the game in June is just as joyful and charismatic, as can be seen in the series of photos posted by the family. (Be warned: this Instagram account is a proverbial rabbit hole full of cuteness, so don’t click on the photo unless you have time on your hands. It’s “not safe for work,” but in a good way.)
The Washington Post’s Marisa Iati reports that Joseph has also met Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, a pro athlete with a similar limb difference, thanks to the Lucky Fin Project, “a nonprofit that celebrates people with limb differences” with a name referring to the main character of the Disney movie Finding Nemo.
In an interview with Fox 35, Joseph’s dad, Miles Tidd, explains how important it is to him for his son to have role models who look like him and who inspire him. Carson explains that her parents raised her never to say “I can’t” because of her limb difference; instead, she was taught to say, “I’m gonna do it, even though I’m missing an arm.”
She’s an inspiration not just to Joseph, but to many others who have the same condition—and to the rest of us who, perhaps, have fewer challenges and yet are more easily deterred. You can watch the full interview here:
Thanks to his loving parents and to the great role models who are inspiring him, Joseph is already learning to take his limb difference in his stride. According to the Washington Post article mentioned earlier, when Joseph introduces himself to other kids, he says, “I’m Joe Joe,” and “then he points to his arm and jokes that he bit off his missing hand.”
With his humor and his joy, “Joe Joe” himself is already being an inspiration, like his hero Carson. We can only hope that these wonderful photos and the beautiful story behind them help create a world where people with differences of any kind are welcomed, treated without stigma, and encouraged to participate fully in all of life’s joys and activities.