CRAWFORD | The story behind Bridgewater's prom trip to Louisville
There was a point at which Ashley Davis wasn't sure she was going to prom. Then she decided to go. Then she wound up with a date she would never forget.
Bridgewater first met Ashley and her family during his freshman season at the Belk Bowl. He happened to run into her father, J.P. Davis, on an elevator in the team hotel. Ashley, who had long since decided Bridgewater was her favorite player, had been waiting in the lobby for two hours to see him.
When J.P. asked Bridgewater if he wouldn't mind meeting her, he said sure. When Ashley got off the elevator and rounded the corner and saw Bridgewater talking to her father, she cried.
“I was impressed that he waited,” Davis said. “He seemed happy to do it.”
When Bridgewater was in Louisville earlier this year, Ashley's mother, Julie, ran into him, and brought up the idea of prom. Bridgewater was receptive, and when the dates worked out, Ashley had a date. But she didn't know it.
“I was sworn to secrecy,” J.P. Davis said. “That was tough.”
Think about this. Bridgewater wasn't just hanging out in Louisville. He flew into Louisville from Las Vegas to escort Davis to Christian Academy's prom. And he flew out right after to visit his mother. This was a special trip.
In more ways than one.
Davis said he picked up Bridgewater and his advisor at the airport and asked him on the ride to his home, “Aren't you nervous? This is a little bit unusual.”
“I don't get nervous,” he said Bridgewater told him. “And you know what, I believe him.”
There were more tears when Bridgewater arrived to greet his prom date. The Minnesota Viking quarterback sat and visited with the Davis family for an hour in their home. He asked Ashley how she wanted to handle media that would inevitably get wind of what was going on and want to talk.
At the prom, everybody wanted pictures with Bridgewater. At every request, Bridgewater turned to Ashley and said, “Can we do this picture?”
“He told her, ‘It's not about me, it's about you and whatever you want to do,'” Davis said. “They talked in the car. Ashley is kind of shy. But you know, she took it all in stride. . . . You just can't imagine how nice a guy this is. You witness it one-on-one how nice he is. How thoughtful, courteous, soft-spoken. He doesn't say a whole lot.”
I've written this before about Bridgewater, so it's nothing new. We've seen him visit people in the hospital without telling anyone. You hear tales after he's been in town of things he's done for this person or that. I said this while Bridgewater was here, I'm not sure people realized how special this guy is — and everybody already realized he was pretty special.
A lot of athletes do these things. But Bridgewater seems always to come through. With Tom Brady all over the headlines this week, Bridgewater again provides a contrast with the negativity that often captures the news cycle in pro sports. He seems to leave a trail of kindness — and character — wherever he goes.
He's not out doing charity and bouncing around the clubs the next night — not that there would be anything wrong with it if he did.
“I'm glad she follows somebody like that,” Davis said. “He's a good role model.”
When he was in Louisville before the Derby to be the grand marshal of the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, Bridgewater said he considers Louisville to be like home.
“At some point hopefully I do have the opportunity to come back here whether it's 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 10 years from now,” he said. “I do plan on settling down somewhere whether it's in Louisville or just around the area. I had a great three years here, and I'd love to come back. Hopefully I can run for mayor or something.”
Let me tell you something, Louisville. We could do worse.
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