There are few things better than seeing a professional athlete give back to their community.
With Veterans Day just around the corner in the United States, Sidney Crosby did just that on Friday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar decided to donate the brand-new 2019 Honda Passport that he won for being named the 2019 NHL All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player to a veteran in the community.
There likely isn’t anyone better to receive it than Madeline Malizio.
The 28-year-old has been an Army Specialist for the past five years and is going to school for legal studies. On top of that, she’s a single mother to a three-year-old son, Maverick.
Before Friday, she didn’t have a car.
Upon hearing her story, Crosby decided to change that.
Malizio was one of 10 veterans invited to attend the team’s practice, get a tour of the locker room and receive an authentic personalized team jersey as part of the Penguins’ special Veterans Day celebrations taking place this weekend, according to Sam Kasan.
It was in the locker room that Crosby met Malizio and launched his plan into action. After wandering together to a garage door in a corner of the facility at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, Crosby opened it to reveal the surprise.
Upon seeing the vehicle, Malizio could barely get a word out.
“Are you serious?” she said to Crosby with her hands on her face. “I’m shaking. Thank you.”
Once the reality of the situation set in, she spoke about what was going through her head.
“He was telling me how he heard about my story and he wanted to do something to help my situation,” Malizio said about the moments leading up to the reveal, per Kasan. “I was confused. I wasn't sure what he could be talking about. He puts the garage (door) up and it's this car. I felt weak in my knees. I felt speechless. I don't really think there is a word to describe how you feel in that moment.”
As Malizio spoke with media and did her best to hold back tears while doing so, Maverick was more than happy to run around the car in excitement.
“Hello everybody! I like our brand-new car!” he shouted, according to Kasan.
Crosby won himself the vehicle in January when he found the back of the net four times and collected eight points to help the Metropolitan Division win the All-Star tournament in San Jose.
“If you told me this was going to happen, I wouldn't have believed you,” Malizio said, per Kasan. “This is just mind blowing.”
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