RANKIN (KDKA) — A Rankin police officer and a homeless man have become Facebook sensations.
Rob, a homeless man, was outside of PPG Paints Arena last Friday night when he struck up a conversation with Officer Jimmy Mains. Both, soon after, ended up inside, cheering on the Penguins.
And it turned out to be a great night for both men.
Officer Mains is a part-time police officer in Rankin. He moved to the Pittsburgh area from outside of Philadelphia a month ago to be closer to his family, and because they have Penguins tickets.
Last Friday, he couldn’t find anyone to go to the game with him.
“A gentleman asked me for some money, and upon him doing that, I said, ‘I don’t have any money, but I’ve got an extra ticket to the game. Do you want to come inside, get out of the cold?’” said Officer Mains. “Last Friday was cold like it is today, and he jumped at the opportunity.”
Now a photo of the two, posted to Facebook, is getting them lots of attention. From the moment they sang the National Anthem, it was a big night.
“Rob was singing at the top of his lungs. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen. To see someone down in his luck, but they’re still very patriotic and singing every word,” said Officer Mains.
During the game, Officer Mains learned that Rob is trying to get back on his feet.
“He told me that he has an upcoming job interview with waste management, and the reason he’s panhandling is one of the requirements for the job is he needs steel-toed boots,” Officer Mains said.
The story is reminiscent of the Christmas Day Steelers game, when Ernest Freeman took Ricky “Stretch” Rapp, another homeless man, to the game at Heinz Field. Both Freeman and Mains say we should all pay it forward. You never know when you might need a helping hand.
As for Rob and those steel-toed boots he’s trying to get, Officer Mains says he’s trying to help him.
He has a cell phone number for Rob, but so far, he hasn’t been able to reach him. But Officer Mains says he’ll keep trying until he does.