It sounded like the usual “guy from a small town makes it big” narrative, and you could argue that to be true, but it was more than that.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s Firebaugh, Calif. roots sprouted a time ago, and so did his exposure to professional sports. It was a situation with a former San Francisco Giants player that will forever stick with Allen and how he interacts with fans.
Firebaugh is located two and a half hours south of San Francisco and it was worth the trip for a young Allen who played baseball sporting a Giants jersey of his own back in the day.
You see, this particular Giants player had finished his game (and played well, as Allen recounted) and despite it being about an hour after the final out, had left the stadium where around 10 young fans waited outside of AT&T Park, including Allen. This particular player seemingly ignored those hoping to score an autograph or perhaps a photo.
It appeared to be a small instance but it added to Allen’s character in a way that he carried with him before, and after, he started sporting a Bills uniform.
“Instead of looking and waving – maybe even giving us fistbumps or whatever, [he] just kind of turned his cap to the side and just kept walking,” Allen said in an interview with WROC-TV’s Thad Brown in October of 2020. “That just left an impression on me. I was just like, ‘I don’t want to root for this guy anymore.’”
Brown guessed Allen was referring to “BB” who had snubbed him –the initials of the home run king Barry Bonds, to which Allen immediately answered, “No, it wasn’t him.”
Regardless of who the player was, the snub left an indelible impact on him.
“It bothered me so much,” Allen added. “I told myself if I was in a position like I am today, I’d do everything in my power to make sure I acknowledged every kid that looked up to me and that was a fan because I’ve been there before and I know how bad it hurt me when an athlete that I looked up to didn’t seem like he cared too much about us.”
Allen said because of that encounter he makes sure during each training camp that he’s the last one out there signing things for young fans and offering up high fives.
“Just knowing how much of an impact something so minor can make,” said Allen.