TAMPA - Bea Kost celebrated her birthday in a way that's not uncommon for many fans - by going to a Steelers game. Being that the trip to the team's game against the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football fell on her actual birthday made it even better. Add in the fact that she was celebrating her 99th birthday and it was a recipe for a memorable night.
That was all before the night's biggest surprise came her way. On the sidelines during pregame with her family, a familiar face to Steelers fans made his way over to Kost and her family.
Just a few yards away from the same spot where he hauled-in the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLIII, Santonio Holmes delivered a customized number 99 "Bea" Steelers jersey.
For everyone in the Kost family, it was a special moment for a special person in their life.
"We had cousins come in from Pittsburgh and Baltimore that [Bea] hadn't seen for about 10 years," Kost's oldest son, Tim, said. "We're all spread out throughout the country and don't have the chance to be together as a group. To have our cousins and everybody here, too, was even better."
A native Pittsburgher, Kost's late husband would take her to Steelers games when they were dating in the 1950s, so the love for the black and gold runs throughout her life. And had it not been for her son, Tim, the opportunity might never have come about for the family.
"Initially, we told her we were just taking her to the game. But I don't think she realized until we were on the sidelines for pregame how big of a deal this really is," said Tim. "[And having Santonio] deliver the jersey was the best."
It was a small token of appreciation, though, from the team who Bea has been loyal to as a fan every step of the way.