Nom de Plumage

May 28, 2012

Language Is No Barrier To Kindness Or Friendship


Compared to yesterday’s nightmare, today would be the exact opposite. I calmed down during the evening, but kept replaying over and over in my mind, the stupidity of my mistake and the wonderful people who helped me. Now all that had to be done was to go and meet the man who found my ticket and hopefully have it returned intact?

As discussed over the phone, I caught the 8:50am train to Novara. A journey that would usually take just over an hour, took much longer due to some problems with the track. I should be getting used to the fact that nothing ever goes according to plan. My only fear was that I could not ring Guiseppe of my delay  and hope that he would not give up on me? I eventually arrive in Novara at 11:15am and exit the train nervous and lost. I had no idea what Guiseppe looked like and could only stand off to the side and look at every man that passed, hoping for some sign? But I did not have to wait long, for coming towards me was a man in his late forties, well presented and with a kind expression on his face. Inside the pocket of his heavy jacket, was a huge white envelope that I prayed was my lost folder? I walked towards him hesitantly and spoke one word – Guiseppe? He smiled, pulled the envelope from his pocket and held it out to me. We greeted each other in very basic English before he suggested that I check if the envelope contained my folder and everything was there? It was! I apologised for being late, but he reassured me that he works in an office for the Italian train network and was aware of my delay. Phew!

My understanding of the Italian language is very poor and Guiseppe’s understanding of English is very basic, so we had a dilemma. There was so much to say and so much I wanted to know and even though we spoke very plainly, we understood each other perfectly. We may not have spoken each other’s native tongue, but words were not necessary to express our happiness and the discovery of a new friend. He had such a kind, handsome face and I just knew that he is a very decent and honourable man. My blessing is that he found my folder and understood the value of it, not just monetary, but my dreams. Any other person may have thrown it in the bin. Unfortunately, my new friend was on his lunch break and had to return back to work. I offered him a gift of wine and chocolates and asked what I could do in return for such a gift of honesty? He replied – “just send me a postcard from Australia when you return home”. That was it! My faith in human kindness has been reassured and my love for Italian’s has only grown. Thank you.

I needed to wait an hour for a train back to Turin and once onboard, I could only then truly relax and look forward to the rest of my stay in Turin. But first things first. Before I truly relax, I went back to the ticket office to try my luck for a refund of my second train pass. I made sure that I waited in the line of the woman who helped me so much yesterday. But as soon as she saw me, no words needed to be spoken, my massive smile said it all. She was so happy for me and proceeded to explain to her manager what happened yesterday and if  I was  therefore entitled to a refund? The manager was very understanding and gave me a FULL refund. I LOVE ITALY!

Unfortunately, it meant carrying a few thousand euros in my handbag until I spent it and that just added to my stress of being a tourist targeted by pick-pockets. But, seek no trouble and it will not seek you. I can safely say, I lost no money, met no pick-pocket and had an amazing time in Italy. It was a great way to end an unbelievable experience.

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