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Hesperia High School basketball player befriends autistic boy at lunch

HESPERIA, Calif. ( — Riley is a 15-year-old sophomore at Hesperia High School (HHS) and a longtime victim of bullying, according to his mom Tamara Shafer.

Tamara posted in the Facebook group Victor Valley 411 about a special experience involving her son with autism and a classmate her son calls a real-life princess.

In just six hours the post has been liked nearly 2,000 times and has over 300 comments. According to the now-viral post, Riley sits by himself and has no friends at school.

All of that changed for Riley during his lunch break on Thursday afternoon.

“This beautiful, sweet girl today made his whole day. She surprised him by bringing him pizza and sat and told him she wanted to be his friend. She even brought him a gift with his favorite snacks and got matching shirts made,” stated Tamara.

Tamara said the gesture had her in tears and overwhelmed by her generosity and her heart.

That beautiful sweet girl with a heart of gold is 15-year-old Elizabeth Sanchez, also a sophomore at HHS.

Tamera said the best part was when the teacher showed him a picture of Elizabeth on the night she won homecoming princess. “My son told me that he had lunch with a real-life princess today. He was so excited to meet royalty. Teach your children acceptance and kindness.”

Tamara told VVNG that Riley just wants to be like everybody else. “Riley is so smart that he’s typically in normal classes but socially he’s about a 2nd grader. “That’s where things get hard for him. He wants to talk about Sesame Street and Veggie Tales and boys at his age talk about other things,” said Tamara.

Elizabeth said when she heard that nobody spoke to Riley and that he sat alone, it broke her heart. “In life, people are judged and bullied based on things that we can’t control, Riley has autism and he is the sweetest kid I’ve met. He loves the kings, watching YouTube videos, and talking about everyday things.”

Elizabeth said spending time with Riley made her whole day so much better after seeing the smile on his face. She’s invited Riley to watch her play basketball during her home game in December.

Elizabeth said she will do everything she can to make Riley’s high school life better.

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