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See the story behind viral photo of toddler, soccer player with limb differences

“It was this instant bond we can’t begin to understand.”
/ Source: TODAY

Joseph Tidd, a 21-month-old from Florida, sees himself in professional soccer player Carson Pickett. Both were born without a left forearm and the pair have shared a special connection ever since they were first introduced at a game in April.

Though Joseph is too young to articulate what Pickett, 25, means to him, his mom, Colleen Tidd, captured a moment that tells you everything you need to know. In the picture that went viral on Sunday, Joseph and the Orlando Pride defender are seen fist bumping after a game, and their joy is palpable.

“The look on their faces says it all,” wrote one person. Added another, “This has me all choked up. Amazing.”

Joseph’s dad, Miles Tidd, will never forget his son’s initial reaction to meeting Pickett last spring.

“Carson knelt down next to Joseph and showed him her arm,” Miles told TODAY Parents. “It was this instant bond we can’t begin to understand.”

Joseph Tidd loves to cheer on Orlando Pride soccer player Carson Pickett.
Joseph Tidd loves to cheer on Orlando Pride soccer player Carson Pickett.tiddbit_outta_hand/Instagram

Meanwhile, Miles and Colleen have formed their own friendship with the soccer star's parents, Treasure and Mike Pickett. “For us this is great because we get to ask those tough questions about how to deal with bullies,” Miles told TODAY. Miles also admires how the Picketts never allowed their daughter to use the words “I can’t."

"Carson believes she can do anything, and that is the mindset we want Joseph to have as well,” Miles said.

Pickett is grateful for the opportunity to inspire others. "I can use my arm for something greater than myself," she told The Guardian in 2018. "I'm able to impact so many kids and people who may not see a way out. It doesn't have to impact them through soccer. To see that I am succeeding in life and happy in life can go a long way for some people."

There’s a chance Joseph will follow in Carson’s footsteps. The toddler is a natural athlete who taught himself how to hang from monkey bars.

“Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, he does it all,” Colleen told TODAY Parents. “He maneuvers his arm a little bit differently, but he makes it work.”

Not only does Joseph have a great attitude, he also has a sense of humor. “Joseph has been telling other kids he bit his arm off,” Colleen laughed. “He’s just created his own little story and he’s going with it!"