GREEN BAY, Wisc. — It was a train ride into the city of Chicago to see the Christmas lights that turned out to be a day, now 15-year-old, Peter Nicoll hasn’t forgotten about.
In November of 2017, 11-year-old Peter asked his mom, Julia, to take a train into the city to experience one of Chicago’s main attractions in the winter months.
“It was a random day out of nowhere, I said to my mom, ‘Lets take the train to the city’. I live outside of the city of Chicago and she was like ‘sure, why not'”, said Nicoll.
While waiting for traffic at a crosswalk on a late Fall evening, Nicoll recognized a man walking towards them.
“I said to my mom, I think that’s Aaron Rodgers. She said, ‘yeah, there’s no way’. He got closer and my mom started to recognize that it’s him, Aaron Rodgers”, Nicoll said.
When the leader of the Green Bay Packers walked next to Peter and his mom, his mom had to ask if it was really Rodgers.
“Are you –?”, said Peter’s mom, Julia.
“I am”, Rodgers confirmed.
After the three crossed the street, 11-year-old Peter got a quick picture with Rodgers and thought that would be the end of their random encounter. But, it wasn’t.
As two other people on the streets recognized the Packers quarterback, Peter and his mother kept walking. When they stopped a block down, Rodgers caught up to the two asking for directions to a steakhouse.
So, Peter and his mom walked with Rodgers for nearly 30-minutes and talked for the entire time until the two pointed Aaron in the right direction of the restaurant.
“He asked me, ‘Who do you root for?’. I said ‘The Bears’. I remember I told him ‘I’m sorry, I’m a Bears fan’. He told me there was nothing to be ashamed of and you have to root for the team in your city”, recalled Nicoll.
After that random encounter with the Packers quarterback, now 15-year-old Peter has gained so much respect for the future Hall of Famer.
“I’m a huge Bears fan but for how nice he was and just treating us like normal people, I gained so much respect for him”, Nicoll said. “It’s tough. I’m always going to be a Bears fan, but he’s so good. He’s ruined so many days for me, but that’s just how it is.”
Peter told Local 5 that Rodgers is, by far, the most famous athlete he’s met and he wouldn’t forget the random encounter, ever. Even Rodgers hasn’t forgot it, as he mentioned that evening in Chicago to the media on Wednesday.
“For years, when we played down there, the night before, I would go for a long walk and often go to dinner. ‘Mastro’s’ is where I would go to dinner for years and years and years in a row. On one of those walks, a random mom and son – even though I was all bundled up, wearing a sweatshirt and winter hat because it’s freezing – recognized me and we walked for four or five blocks together”, said Rodgers. “So, that was a nice chance meeting (fans). But, I’ve always enjoyed the city, enjoyed the fans – even though they haven’t enjoyed me. That’s fine. I get it. Maybe there will be a little more love when my time comes to an end playing here.”
When Rodgers recollected that random night to the media on Wednesday, Peter found the video of Rodgers talking about the moment and posted the picture of the two in Chicago on Twitter saying he was the kid in reference. Peter’s phone instantly blew up.
“I went insane”, Peter said after seeing Rodgers talking about the encounter. “I had no idea it would blow up like this. I had to turn off my Twitter notifications.”
Although four years have passed since that night in Chicago, it wasn’t until recently that Peter’s given it some extra thought.
“Ever since (Rodgers) brought it up in that interview, I think it’s crazier to me now than it was four years ago as he actually remembers it and brings it up”, said Peter.
It’s a night that Peter and his mom will never forget and even after ruining many of Peter’s day from Rodgers’ stellar play on the football field, respect was gained for the leader of the Packers by a young Bears fan.