Chicago’s Darling: Hawks goalie’s act of kindness goes viral

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PHOENIX — A man’s social media post detailing Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling’s random act of kindness has gone viral.

Twitter user Kane Van Gate shared the tale on Sunday, explaining how he got into an Phoenix Uber driver’s Range Rover with a bunch of hockey equipment. Van Gate wrote that when the driver saw the equipment, he asked him if he knew Darling. The driver went on to  say how he once met Darling — and how the Hawks goalie immediately made an impact.

“‘He (Darling) changed my life,'” Van Gate recounts the driver saying. “‘When I picked him up he had a man with him. A man who had been through some tough times.'” Van Gate wrote on Twitter that the cabbie said Darling met the man on the street, took him in the car to a hotel and later paid for the stranger to stay for a month “until he got back on his feet.”

The driver also told Van Gate that Darling paid for the man’s groceries.

“‘I never met a man who was so sincere,'” the driver said, according to the post. “I later googled (sic) him, found out who he was and now I think hockey is the greatest sport in the world.'”

Van Gate’s post does not specify when the the driver met Darling nor does it determine whether the man with Darling was homeless. But it was a heartwarming and generous anecdote that many wanted to believe, as Van Gate’s story has garnered more than 1,500 retweets and more than 2,000 likes in less than a day.

A couple of hours after Van Gate shared it, Darling himself acknowledged the story, unsolicited.

“Just paying it forward,” Darling wrote. “Lucky to be in a position to help.”

Blackhawks fans got well-acquainted with Darling last season when the Lemont, Ill., native took over for a struggling Corey Crawford early in the 2014-15 playoff run. While Crawford eventually won back the starting job on the way to the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup since 2010, Darling did his part, going 3-1 over four games in net.

Darling has served as an inspiration to many given the hurdles he has had to overcome in earning the Blackhawks’ roster spot. Early on in his hockey career, Darling struggled with alcoholism and was kicked off his college team at the University of Maine. He later overcame his demons and worked his way to the pros with the Blackhawks. He is currently 5-4-2 in 11 starts with Chicago in 2015-16.