I always feel a bit sad when I write posts that look negatively on things happening in Pittsburgh, such as that tuition tax post about that tuition tax that is making me feel STABBITY STABBITY STABBITY toward Grant Street, and believe you me, my anger and your anger is completely justified.

Anger is good.  It’s a change agent.  And that’s what Pittsburgh needs — people recognizing the worth behind the faults.  Loving the city enough to want to stick around and fix what got broken.  Loving the good while boldly questioning the STABBITY STABBITY STABBITY bad.

So, as a reminder of what we’re fighting for, we’re fighting for a city FILLED with people like this.  And I’m going to reprint this in its entirety because I really want you to read it.  Dear PG, don’t make me take this down just yet.  Remember, I’m your ambassador, too.

I’m a college student, and I’ve been a die-hard Penguins fan since I attended my first game in the early 1990s with my uncle, and have followed the team every year. I don my Crosby jersey on game day and was one of the many in attendance at the parade this summer.

I was lucky enough to score tickets to a Friday night Florida Panthers game from a work colleague. I couldn’t wait to surprise my boyfriend (another huge Pens fan) with this great “date.”

We took our seats in Section E and waited anxiously for the game to begin. I decided to ease the wait with a trip to the concession stand for some snacks, as we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.

Coming back with two beers, a pretzel and nachos, I realized it was almost game time. Walking down the steps to our seats, I slipped and fell, spilling my tray and covering myself in beer, mustard and nacho cheese.

Immediately, two men stepped out of their seats to help me. One made sure that I wasn’t hurt (I was just embarrassed) and the other gentleman went to alert an usher of the spill.

As I sat up, using my few napkins to wipe myself off, I saw the layer of mustard and cheese covering my precious jersey and was on the verge of tears. My jersey was a prized possession, and cost almost a whole paycheck.

I returned to my seat to watch the game. Just moments later, we were interrupted by an older gentleman holding a tray of nachos, a pretzel and two beers. He handed them to us, telling us that he just wanted us to enjoy the game.

He also handed me a white shopping bag. Inside was a Sidney Crosby jersey, just like the one I was wearing. He told me that since my jersey had most likely been ruined by the stains, and was soaked with beer, that I should have a new one.

He refused to let me give him any money and wouldn’t even give me his name. He told me that I reminded him of his daughter and that it was his pleasure to help a fellow Pens fan.

I was touched beyond words by his generosity. My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the game, which ended with the Penguins winning in a shootout, but the real takeaway of the evening was the kind and generous spirit of our fellow fans. Although memories of the Stanley Cup finals make me smile, nothing meant more than the kindness I was shown by my fellow Pittsburghers.



That man is the next Awesome Burgher and his big giant hug is in the mail.

So yes, fight with me, Burghers, and rail against that which we hate, but don’t let it blind you to that which we have always loved about Pittsburgh. It’s home and we’re not going to let any dumb-butt tax-happy politicians scare us away.

(h/t to two readers whose emails have already been sucked into the abyss that is my inbox.)


  1. bucdaddy
    November 9, 2009 4:37 pm

    Jesus, I’m tearing up here. And I’m listening to Rancid, so that ain’t easy.

  2. Pensgirl
    November 9, 2009 4:42 pm

    Oh, thanks for reposting this Ginny. THe Pensblog guys linked to it too…this is one of those stories that should be posted far and wide.

    My favorite part is that reading the story, I didn’t find anything surprising. Tales of Pittsburghers’ random generosity could make for a weighty book (and I mean that literally).

  3. Greg
    November 9, 2009 4:56 pm

    Thanks for reminding us what Pittsburghers are all about…and thanks for being a voice for making our city even better.

  4. Pitt Pygmy
    November 9, 2009 4:56 pm

    *sigh* I really want to show this post to all of my friends who can’t, for the life of them, understand why I’d leave Orlando and move back to Pittsburgh; who just don’t get what’s so great about it. I probably won’t, because they’re tired of hearing me talk about it by now. But they’ll see! They’ll see when they come visit me in March for a conference.

    bucdaddy, I got all misty too. *tissue*

  5. Susan Helene Gottfried
    November 9, 2009 5:06 pm

    Yep, I saw it in the PG (or however we pronounce it today). Read it to my kids, so hopefully it’ll rub off on the next generation of Pittsburghers.

  6. Trish
    November 9, 2009 5:26 pm

    That? Freakin’ AWESOME.

  7. unsatisfied
    November 9, 2009 5:38 pm

    is lukey reading this?

  8. cmd_45
    November 9, 2009 5:39 pm

    love it! only in the ‘Burgh:)

  9. Magus Patris
    November 9, 2009 5:56 pm

    SUre wouldn’t happen in DC. You’d probably just have two lawyers run up to you telling you you should sue the Verizon Center. I’m glad I’m back here.

  10. carnegiegrl
    November 9, 2009 6:03 pm

    That was truly too awesome.
    Too bad the poor girl is gonna get taxed for the privledge of going to college here!

  11. Shannon
    November 9, 2009 6:08 pm

    What a great story. I can’t see that happening too many other places than the Burgh! It made me teary eyed too. Thanks for posting this :)

  12. jason
    November 9, 2009 6:17 pm

    she must have been stacked.

  13. lilkirbs
    November 9, 2009 6:48 pm

    i miss home..thanks for posting that Ginny!! Burghers are in a league of their own!!

  14. MN
    November 9, 2009 6:57 pm

    The people of Pittsburgh truly are gems…we stood in line for 3 hours yesterday afternoon at WQED to see the set pieces of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for the last time. The event had run all day Saturday and was supposed to end at 5:00 yesterday. We left the building at 6:30 and there was still a LONG line. Every volunteer was as courteous as can be, Mr. McFeely was still posing for at least two photographs for every family (and saying “Speedy Delivery!” every time!) and no one was rushed through or turned away. It was truly a memorable experience for all of us, especially as we have lived here for only two years and have no family or other ties to Pittsburgh. This is the friendliest, most decent place we have ever lived…thanks to the people!

  15. bluzdude
    November 9, 2009 7:29 pm

    Suffice to say, I don’t think that would ever happen in Baltimore. They probably would have stolen her pretzel while she was down.

    It’s funny, I was just posting on that kind of boorish behavior around here as you posted this shining example of what they should aspire to.

  16. L-A
    November 9, 2009 7:40 pm

    Ginny – your site is now blocked at my work (social networking/personal site blah blah blah) and i am PISSED. This story was worth the wait to get home, though, and i read it to my husband and couldn’t help but choke up as I was reading it. Love Love Love

  17. Russell Dunkin
    November 9, 2009 7:42 pm

    I read that story over the weekend. We have tickets in E16 and I was trying to think who might have been that kind. Awesome!

  18. Pa-pop
    November 9, 2009 7:43 pm

    In this version of “It’s a Wonderful Town” the lovable heroine is Beth Melane Bailey, Clarence is a humble Pens fan with season tickets, and the mayor is Henry F. Potterstahl.

  19. La Reina
    November 9, 2009 7:48 pm

    I’m not even a hockey fan – but I am a yinzer – and found it a touching story of all that is good about the burgh.

    Lukey, you tool.

  20. Pa Girl in FL
    November 9, 2009 7:56 pm

    Pitt Pygmy – you should stay in Orlando. Maybe if enough of us burgers make this home, we can help folks here be more polite. We just might need to figure out ‘yunz’ in Spanish…Ginny? Was home in western PA this weekend and got my ‘fix’ till Christmas….nothing like coming home to the ‘burg…..

  21. Darla
    November 9, 2009 7:58 pm

    this was one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard of anyone doing. Things like this make my day.

  22. USCMike
    November 9, 2009 8:02 pm

    And Lukey, after reading this, don’t get any ideas about taxing sports jerseys either…

    Overall, this privilege tax on students is just about the most asinine (or does Luke spell it ASSinine?) idea I’ve heard of, even coming from a kid mayor. And then following it up on TV with comments about CMU kids partying on the South Side?

    All in all, proof positive that the Democratic machine got what they deserved last Tuesday. And we get four more years of adolescent behavior…

  23. Chris
    November 9, 2009 8:47 pm

    Thank you for reprinting this so more people could see it. It’s a great read.

  24. Monty
    November 9, 2009 8:53 pm

    Let me guess, the older gentleman looked like Robert Redford? That must have been nice and emasculating for the boyfriend. Their relationship is doomed.

    I kid, I kid. Kind of.

  25. Lisa J
    November 9, 2009 9:21 pm

    Yet another reminder if why I’m proud to be a “yinzer”. We really are an awesome group of people. I, too, read this and was pleased, but not surprised.

  26. RIZZO
    November 9, 2009 9:50 pm

    Further evidence that the Yinzers make this town GREAT despite Grant Street.
    Thanks Ginny!

  27. Bobbo
    November 10, 2009 12:01 am

    Tears! I love Pittsburgh.

  28. Michelle Smiles
    November 10, 2009 12:03 am

    That story is the reason I love Pittsburgh enough to try and quit mocking the mayor for his stupid tuition tax.

  29. Amy Fisher
    November 10, 2009 12:09 am

    “Loving the city enough to want to stick around and fix what got broken.” This is exactly why I’m still here (I stayed in the City when I moved 2.5 years ago) and why people continue to buy houses here. We need people to effect change, not run from it. Thanks Ginny!

  30. West Coast Burgher
    November 10, 2009 12:38 am

    It’s stories like this that make my heart go “SQUEE!”

  31. Schuyler
    November 10, 2009 7:29 am

    Awesome story – thanks for posting it! It is one of the many reasons to love this city! (And yes, it made me cry!)

  32. Elianah-Sharon
    November 10, 2009 8:27 am

    Ginny…that is EXACTLY what being a Burgher is all about. I LOVE that man :)

  33. bucdaddy
    November 10, 2009 9:40 am

    Jason made me snork. Thanks!

  34. Three
    November 10, 2009 10:40 am

    @Pitt Pygmy, as someone who lived in Ft. Lauderdale and returned, I get tired of trying to explain why I left “that beautiful weather!” to come back here.

    If there is a common failing among the yinzer logic, it’s that they think that people are like this everywhere, and the only difference really is the weather. If only that were true…

  35. Caitlin Bridget
    November 10, 2009 10:58 am

    Okay, seriously this is just a great story!

  36. Meghan
    November 10, 2009 11:52 am

    AWWWWW!! Love it!! Go Pens (I love those guys)!!

  37. Alethea
    November 10, 2009 12:08 pm

    I totally just cried.

  38. Margie
    November 10, 2009 12:12 pm

    Stories like this make me happy to be a Burgher.

  39. PittinDC
    November 10, 2009 12:25 pm

    Awesome story!! It really makes me miss home!! I assure you, that would never happen at a Caps game.

  40. Kathy
    November 10, 2009 1:11 pm

    Great story, and besides the fact that it would only happen in Pittsburgh, I feel it necessary to point out — it would only happen at a hockey game. No way anything like that would happen at an NFL game — you’d be stepped on and the beer licked up off the ground before someone would be getting you another out of generousity.

  41. L
    November 10, 2009 1:50 pm

    Kathy is right.

  42. Cassie
    November 11, 2009 9:06 am

    Oh! I so love that story. That’s what life is all about, passing on the goodness. :)