Louisa, VA -- Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different speeds.
Two friends at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School in Louisa are helping each other in different ways. One is shrinking while the other is growing in confidence and communication skills.
"Well, actually it happened like an accident", says School Resource Officer Leonhardt Anderson.
A teacher stopped Deputy Anderson in the hallway at the beginning of the school year.
"And (she) said that she had a little boy that didn't like loud noise and her class was unusually loud that day. And asked if I would take him for a walk to get a break. And I said, 'Sure, I'll help the little fella out'".
"And the two of them have just developed a bond. Just from walking around together and they just look like a cute little pair", says Principal Anita Roane.
Every day, Austin and Deputy Anderson make the rounds up and down hallways, sauntering down one called “Success Street”.
They’re in and out of offices, classrooms and the cafeteria, seeing things you couldn’t imagine.
"We'll go outside on the playground and chase dinosaurs and be chased by zombies. And we just have a good time being little kids”, says Deputy Anderson.
It may sound like fun and games, but for Austin, who is on the Autism Spectrum and mostly non-verbal, it’s a step in a good direction.
"He speaks to me as the year's progressed”, says Deputy Anderson. “He's very funny. He tells a lot of jokes. I don't always get 'em, but I know he has fun with them."
Principal Roane says you can see a change in both.
"Deputy Anderson, he said Austin has been a help to him. He said he's lost weight from doing this with Austin."
In fact, Deputy Anderson says he’s lost about 20 lbs. this school year thanks to Austin.
"We would walk until we got tired of walking. Which he never gets tired of walking," Anderson said.
There are just a few more strolls left until summer but they’ll be back together next year.