To warm you up.

An email I received yesterday made me feel all tingly and warm and happy and I wanted to share it with you because it’s colder than the tits of ten thousand witches out there and this will give you a burst of warm energy.

I know you often write about the kindness of ‘burghers, and I had something happen to me today that I thought fit the bill. I thought I’d share so maybe the universe will thank him somehow.

First, I’m a displaced ‘burgher living in Washington, DC. I was in northern Virginia for the weekend for a wedding. Now, my car has been giving me some problems, though it did get me from Pittsburgh to DC last weekend. I was leaving this morning and the car was miserable–check engine lights, lots of angry engine noises and zero ability to accelerate. I pull over and throw a
frustrated, upset fit because nothing gets me irrationally upset like car trouble. I call to get a tow truck to get myself back to DC and (thank goodness for roadside assistance) one can come in half hour.

The truck comes in 15 minutes. and a sweet kid hops out, asks me if I’m okay and what’s wrong with the car, and tells me to get in the cab so I don’t get cold. He hooks everything up and we get ready to go, and I prepare myself for a half hour of small talk. A couple minutes in I say, “Yeah, all I really wanted to do today is go home and watch some football.”

He says, “Yeah, I hope the Patriots lose. I hate the Patriots.”

Me: “Me, too. They’re awful!”

Him: “Well, I’m from Pittsburgh so…”

Me: “You’re from Pittsburgh?! I’m from Pittsburgh!”

We go on to talk about where we’re from, what brought him to the area, and about those Steelers. We get to my mechanic and I’m getting ready to pay him for what my car insurance didn’t cover and he says, “Oh, no, it’s just another form for me to fill out–don’t worry about it.”

In the middle of a not-so-fun situation, it was so nice to have something in common, and his kindness just put it over the top.

Thanks for your blog, your wonderful writing, and for helping to bring all those far from home closer together.




  1. bluzdude
    January 11, 2010 10:15 am

    I know this isn’t really the point but I’m not sure how rooting for the Patriots is the obvious Pittsburgh choice. I don’t think I could root for the Ratbirds in any situation. They could be playing Satan’s All-Stars live from Gates of Hell Stadium, and I’d probably have to root for the home team.

    (In fact this scenario may actually come to pass, if the Rats and Cowboys both make the Super Bowl, in which case, I’ll be forced to DVR the telecast, zap the game and watch the commercials.)

    So I was rooting for the Pats to win, but with the Rats beating them up so badly they’d fold up the next week against San Diego.

  2. Magnus Patris
    January 11, 2010 10:15 am

    All my years in the DC area, I could always tell the natives from those of us who came from outside the beltway. Natives were angry and unfriendly; outsiders, especially people from Pittsburgh and the upper mid-west, were the friendliest. Years ago, in a local DC area mega mall, I saw a couple who looked really lost. I asked if I could help them find what they were looking for. After helping them, the woman said they moved to the area 5 months earlier from Nebraska or somewhere and hated it because I was the first friendly person who ever just came up and spoke to them. I said that’s because even though I lived in northern Virginia, I was a Pittsburgher. She told her husband that maybe they should move to Pittsburgh. I hope they did.

  3. Katie
    January 11, 2010 10:26 am

    Thank you, I totally needed that.

  4. GoBobbo
    January 11, 2010 10:46 am

    Pittsburgh > The World

  5. Polly
    January 11, 2010 10:48 am

    I spent the past 5 months in Washington DC and left because I felt so separated from the people there. No one made me feel welcome and the only time people reached out to me was when I could do something for them. I just re-located to Colorado and couldn’t be happier. I feel like the people out here fit the Pittsburgher mentality. Though I am still happy with my move, I wish I could have experienced this kindness while in the beltway. Thanks for sharing and know that I’m spreading the Pittsburgh love out in the west!

  6. Erin
    January 11, 2010 10:58 am

    I agree on the unfriendliness in D.C. It’s part of the reason I moved back to Pittsburgh.

  7. Jmat
    January 11, 2010 11:09 am

    You realize of course that this guy was such a nice guy because he was dealing with a woman right?
    There is no way a guy, even a guy from Pittsburgh, would not have had to pay.

  8. NewBurgher
    January 11, 2010 11:11 am

    I can’t speak to DC, but I can’t tell you how many times I was stopped while living in a Dallas suburb, by displaced Pittsburghers. And it was always to comment on either the Steelers license plate frame we had on the car, or one time bcs I was wearing a DVE sweatshirt; and just to say HI and inquire whether I was from Pittsburgh; always super nice. We definitely saw more Steelers gear there then we ever did the Cowboys. Just moved up here, we love it, Pgh rocks!

  9. beaner
    January 11, 2010 11:17 am

    Lived in Houston, TX for most of the 1980’s. You had to hide the fact from the local yahoos that you were not a native.
    Me: I’m from Pittsburgh.
    Them: Yer a Yankee.
    End of conversation.

    Hooray for Pittsburgh!

  10. Matt
    January 11, 2010 11:23 am

    Speaking as a long-time ‘Burgher-inside-the-Beltway (30+ years), the tension level usually drops and civility level rises when Congress is out of session (mainly August, late December, and early April). That’s when all the self-important big shots tend to either leave town or go to events where they bloviate to each other about how important they are, and real people go about their daily lives doing actual work. Around here, a Steeler sticker on a car is as good as a Triple A sign, and a Pirate sticker is a sign of friendly, irrational optimism.

  11. Princess of Quarterbackolonia
    January 11, 2010 11:32 am

    Having lived in several different areas of the country (am now currently near the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field) and with work taking me around the country, I run into ‘Burghers all over the place. If there is not an obvious clue like a sweatshirt or hat, it is usually the accent I notice first and will ask where they are from, and it never fails that some type of sports conversation will follow.

  12. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    January 11, 2010 11:44 am

    I just returned from a vacation in Key West, FL and ran into current and ex-pat Burghers everywhere I went. I was at a bar on Duval and asked them if they could put the Pens game on one of their many tvs and at first the bartender was hesitant, but when I pointed out that there was maybe 10 people at the bar watching the five giant projection screen tvs (three tuned to the same program), he did. Within 5 minutes, my end of the bar was full with Pens fans, all commisserating about the flat play of the Pens. We had a great time and the bartender ended up with way more in sales and tips than he would’ve made without changing the channel.

  13. Shelley
    January 11, 2010 12:06 pm

    I was trying to get out of LAX after a particularly rough week of business meetings. Sucky weather in Chicago stranded me, and the frustration created mucho tears. a nervous breakdown was sure to follow when a smiling guy — LA tanned and toned — sat a few seats from me wearing an Iron City T-shirt. He wasn’t even from Pittsburgh! Whatever God of Three Rivers made him wake up and throw on that shirt deserves my undying devotion, because that shirt saved me. I thanked the dude for his fashion choice and stayed focused on the land I love and the people I was returning to. A little Pittsburgh saves the world — at least mine!

  14. amy
    January 11, 2010 12:09 pm

    Thanks for posting that story. It’s so helpful to hear about the good in the world, especially the good that comes from Pittsburgh.

    And thanks for the picture of Mater. Peter loved Mater :)

  15. Pensgirl
    January 11, 2010 12:55 pm

    I sort of feel bad for DC because when I meet people who are actually from the metro area they do tend to be nice enough, but the city is infested with all these self-important jackholes related to the goings-on of Congress and the Executive Branch, and their arrogant sniveling nasty me-firstness is what gets associated with the city itself. I haven’t met enough born-and-raised to know for sure how friendly they are compared to other places, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they get a bad rap.

    But I can’t stand the invaders, which is why I deal with a 3-hour daily commute to live in Baltimore. It’s not Pittsburgh, but it’s similar enough to make me feel comfortable and it’s a hell of a lot better than living in DC (it’s bad enough to work here).

  16. SC 'Burgher
    January 11, 2010 7:27 pm

    That’s what I love about Pittsburghers. No matter where I go – I typically run into someone from home. We’ll be able to talk about the Steelers, Pirates or Pens.

  17. PA girl trapped in VA
    January 11, 2010 7:37 pm

    2 1/2 years and I will no longer be a displaced Burgher! And I can’t wait. I tell every freakin person I can. Why? Because I love Pittsburgh. There are a lot of Burghers down here and they are they most kindest people ever. However, I have to say that most locals here in Virginia Beach are pretty awesome too, but nothing beats home.

    My parents moved my sister and I away from the Burgh when we were kids and we’ve always said one day we are going back. So now when hubby retires from the Navy – We’re gone!

    Ginny, I love when you wrote that if you could pick Pittsburgh up and give it a hug you would…I feel the exact same way. **feeling a little sappy and homesick now**

    Now…am I the only misplace Burgher that when it’s time to leave and your on the turn pike or which ever direction you take – do you cry leaving town, headed back to where you live? (because we all know that PGH is home)

  18. Bojack
    January 11, 2010 10:45 pm

    @PA Girl trapped in VA-

    I spent great years commercial fishing there! Lived in the last
    “holdout” 1940’s beach house right beside the Duck Inn (Fri afternoons nuts,) Duck and the house gone now, just condo puke!!!
    Boat was docked beside Chick’s Oyster Grill on the Lynnhaven. Crabbed the whole Lynnhaven April-Sept, then fished the Bay and ocean thru the winter, spot, croaker, rockfish, horndog shark!!! Good times!!!!!

    Diff from the Burgh tho!!

    Still, be nice to get rockfish here!!! :-(

  19. No Princesses Here
    January 12, 2010 9:25 am

    @ PA Girl trapped in VA- I’ve been trapped in VA for 20+ years and I still cry on the way back every single time. I hate leaving. Because of my husband’s job we’re stuck here for the duration unless he makes a big career change, which isn’t likely. Maybe one day we’ll get to retire up there- a very long time from now.

    It is funny how you can tell the Burghers from the natives here in NOVA. My hairdresser, dentist, and eye doctor are all from The Burgh. We clicked instantly. I’ve found that randomly meeting another Burgher (usually when both are wearing Steelers/Pens gear) = instant friend. That doesn’t happen here otherwise. I’ve actually been met with some hostility when telling someone (a native) at my gym that I’m from near Pittsburgh. I know she was jealous. ;)

  20. Paul
    January 12, 2010 5:23 pm

    oh damn it! *wipes away a tear* I love my fellow Pittsburghians (I love the city and the people…but I freaking hate “burgher!”