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Short Shifts

Penguins fan gives extra ticket to homeless man

Jimmy Mains, Rob sparked friendship during game

by Daniel O'Leary @DanOLeary25 / NHL.com Staff Writer

The world can be a cold place. But last week, one Penguins fan did what he could to bring some warmth to a man down on his luck.

Jimmy Mains had an extra ticket to the Penguins-Lightning game last Friday. He was looking for a friend to go with him, even posting on Facebook, but didn't get any takers.

So he went to PPG Paints Arena by himself, figuring he'd watch his team alone. He was approached outside the stadium by a man named Rob, who asked him for money.

"I told him that I don't carry any cash," said Mains, "But if he wanted to come into the game with me and get out of the cold for a little bit I had an extra ticket."

After initially thinking he was being put on, Rob accepted and a friendship began.

"I don't think it set in with him that we were going to the game until we went through the gate and through the metal detectors," Mains said. "He told me he had never been inside (the arena), only outside."

Mains said that Rob was glued to the game, a 5-2 Penguins win, cheering and yelling for the home team. He posted a selfie of the two of them at the game on Facebook and the image went viral.

"During the anthem, he stood there and sang every word," Mains said. "He was yelling and cheering the whole game. It was just great to see a guy, who is obviously a little down on his luck, so happy."

During breaks the two men chatted about life over concession stand chicken fingers. Rob told him that he was close to a new job and looking for help with some expenses. The two exchanged contact information.

"My parents always taught me to treat everyone how you wanted to be treated," said Mains, a newly minted police officer in Rankin, Pa. with one month on the job and former volunteer firefighter. "And if you have the opportunity to help someone, you do it. Just because someone is out on the street, doesn't make you any better than them.

"I posted (the picture) on Facebook just because there is so much negativity on there now. And this was a positive," Mains said. "He told me I made his life. Just by being nice to him."

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