A picture of a professional soccer player laughing with a 21-month-old fan has gone viral, thanks to their unique bond: Both were born without a left forearm and hand.

The picture shows a smiling Carson Pickett of the Orlando Pride bumping arms with Joseph Tidd, a little boy who has become friends with Pickett in recent months. 

Pickett’s mother, Colleen Tidd, snapped the picture, and it has been shared on multiple social media platforms, including those of ESPN and NBC’s Today Show. 

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“Pictures mean a lot so hopefully when he gets older, he can see that and feel even more of what it means,” Pickett, 25, told USA Today. “When I was younger and I didn’t know how the world works, it was hard. My parents always tell me that God put me here for a reason. The biggest thing I’d want Joseph (and others) to know is that even if people see you as different, it’s what’s in your heart that counts.

“This is something that is much bigger than soccer,” Pickett said of her relationship with Tidd. “It’s hopefully a lifelong friendship.”

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The two met for the first time in April. Tidd’s father, Miles Tidd, said the two instantly bonded. 

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

The Pride is part of the National Women’s Soccer League. Pickett told The Guardian last year she wants to use her platform to change how people view those who are born without limbs.  

“I have the ability to impact a lot of people,” Pickett said. “My parents tell me all the time to use the platform God gave me. I can use my arm for something greater than myself. 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.”

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