Madeline Malizio never gave up, and never complained.
Malizio, 28, is juggling a lot in her life. She has been an Army Specialist for the past five years. She is going to school at CCAC for legal studies. She is a single mother to a 3-year-old son. And she has been balancing all of this on humble means.
Malizio doesn't own a car, which means a lot of bus rides to school, work and daycare. And it means a lot of standing in the cold and waiting. But she refused to let that stand in the way of achieving her goals.
That all changed on Friday.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby heard about Malizio's plight. And he wanted to do something for her. After meeting her inside the team's locker room following practice, they walked to a corner of the facility at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Crosby opened a garage door and behind it was a brand-new 2019 Honda Passport.
Actually, it was Malizio's brand-new 2019 Honda Passport.
"Sidney Crosby got me a car!" Malizio exclaimed to a few media afterward. "It's been the best day ever. I can't even put into words how grateful I am, and how blessed I feel for what he's done today."
Crosby had originally won the car after being named the MVP of the NHL's 2019 All-Star Game in January, leading the Metro Division to a tournament championship. And Crosby wanted to pay it forward.
"He was telling me how he heard about my story and he wanted to do something to help my situation," Malizio said. "I was confused. I wasn't sure what he could be talking about. He puts the garage 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."
While Malizio fought back tears, her son, Maverick, was running around the car in excitement.
"Hello everybody! I like our brand-new car!" he shouted to all those within earshot.
Malizio got a little feel for her new ride as she sat in the driver seat. Maverick, wearing a No. 87 jersey, sat on her lap with Crosby in shotgun.
"You're driving it home right?" Crosby asked young Maverick.
"If you told me this was going to happen, I wouldn't have believed you," Malizio said. "This is just mind blowing."
This means no more waiting on buses and Ubers to get to school, or to get Maverick to daycare. No more sitting outside in the cold, and just in time.
"(Maverick) knows that this is a big deal," Malizio said. "It's a big deal to him, too. He gets it. He knows that this is going to be so much better for us. And warmer. It's getting cold outside."
Malizio, who served at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, was one of 10 veterans that were invited to attend the team's practice, get a locker room tour and receive an authentic personalized team jersey.
Malizio, who grew up with military parents, and many other veterans will attend the Penguins game on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at PPG Paints Arena as part of the team's special Veterans Day celebration. And now, thanks to Crosby, Malizio has her transportation to the game all figured out.
"I'll drive it to the game. I'll drive it everywhere," she said. And then offered: "I'll drive (the media) if you need a ride."