PITTSBURGH - My brother, 24-year-old Lisbon resident Kyle Smith recently met Pittsburgh Penguin captain Sidney Crosby.
This event alone is one to be envied. How it happened is even more remarkable.
Many of our locals know Kyle. As a family, we don't ever go to the grocery store, the gas station, or out to dinner without running into someone who knows and warmly greets my brother. We've even been in airports, hundreds of miles away and even in another country, where we've run into people who shout from afar, "Kyle!" and then run up to give him a hug and ask how he is.
However, Sidney Crosby is not someone I would expect to stop Kyle on the street. But he did.
Sidney Crosby actually pulled up behind my family and me in the parking lot adjacent to the Consol Energy Center and asked, from his vehicle, who the young man in front of me was. I did manage, after a brief moment of awe, to introduce him to Kyle, and proceeded to ask Kyle if he knew who this man in the suit and tie was. (The two are only a year apart in age). Kyle - being Kyle - squealed with happiness and did a dance in his wheelchair in confirmation. From there, Crosby offered Kyle an autographed picture of himself, made casual conversation - asking how many games Kyle attends, where Kyle is from - and even got out of his car to take a picture with his young fan. And if ever we were wondering what made him stop, he did offer, "Well, I saw you were wearing my shirt, so"
He motioned to Kyle (as well as our mom and myself), who were all wearing his unmistakable captain jersey. He even touched Kyle's shoulder in kindness and told him thanks for coming to the games.
This whole incident absolutely blew all of us away. Never, in a million years, would I have expected this man to seek us out - even Kyle - and do what he did. I will say, and everyone who knows me knows this: I believe Kyle is an unconditional source of light, laughter, and love to everyone who knows him. He truly radiates happiness and joy and brings out the best in so many people. He is witty and smart and loyal to the core. He is always positive. He stands up for what is right and takes the time to listen, no matter what. He also happens to be a huge Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby fan. With all of that being said, all I can say is that either Sidney Crosby could also sense the kind of person Kyle is and decided to stop and say hi, or that Sidney Crosby and Kyle Smith are cut from the same mold.
I really think everyone should know what kind of man "Sid" is. He, who has won nearly every imaginable honor and award in the NHL and received a gold medal at the Olympics, stopped a young man with cerebral palsy on the street just to say hello and see how his night was. It touched my heart - and my life - to see him smile at my brother. He is a shining beacon of light and a true hero to anyone who has ever loved the sport of hockey.
So, from the bottom of my heart: thank you, Sid. If we had more of you in this world, we'd all be better off.