She got stuck at the airport, he, a taxi driver, takes her home for free.
It doesn’t seem like such news that causes much fanfare, so much so that it even bounces overseas and disturbs CNN. But if the airport is in Madrid and the home is in Vicenza, perhaps prospectives change. All the more so if such kindness is accomplished in a strange time like this, of mistrust, distance and closure.
This is why the story of Giada and Kepa opens the heart.
Giada Collalto è una ragazza di ventidue anni, originaria di Montebello, Vicenza. Ha coronato il sogno di studiare all’estero grazie al programma Erasmus. E si trovava infatti in Spagna, precisamente a Bilbao, quando è iniziata imprevista l’emergenza Coronavirus che ha cambiato la sua e la nostra vita.
Giada Collalto is a twenty-two-year-old girl, from Montebello, Vicenza. She fulfilled hir dream of studying abroad thanks to the Erasmus program. And she was in Spain, precisely in Bilbao, when the Coronavirus emergency began which unexpectedly changed her and our lives.
Like all European countries, Spain has also decided to limit travel within the country and to foreign countries. And this is how Giada finds herself literally stuck in a foreign city she is learning about and 3700 kilometers away from her home. What’s she is missing is her family with whom she would like to share this difficult period, forced instead as she is to remain closed and alone in an apartment not her own. Due to the lockdown, she cannot go to university or hang out with her new friends.
But Giada has always been a determined person and even in this situation she is not discouraged. She leaves for Madrid and tries to board to reach Italy. But the flight purchased online is canceled, like many in this dark period. The next available is scheduled in June.
Luogo di ritorni e partenze, abbracci e commozione, l’aeroporto di Madrid non è mai stato così triste per Giada. Ma non si perde d’animo e contatta un caro amico che le passa il numero di un tassista di fiducia che le potrà essere d’aiuto almeno a tornare nel suo appartamento: Kepa Amantagi, originario dei Paesi Baschi. Kepa è gentile e la riporta dall’aeroporto di Madrid a Bilbao. Una volta arrivati davanti all’appartamento che ha abitato fino a quel momento, Giada si accorge di aver perso le chiavi e di non poter rientrare.
Madrid airport is a place of returns and departures, hugs and emotion, but it has never been so sad for Giada. Despite all, she doesn’t lose heart and calls a dear friend who passes her the number of a taxi driver who can help her to return to her apartment, at least. His name is Kepa Amantagi, from the Basque Country. Kepa is kind and takes her from Madrid airport to Bilbao. Once arrived in front of the apartment she has been living in up to that moment, Giada realizes that she has lost her keys so that she can’t go in.
Kepa Amantagi doesn’t leave her alone, he offers to host her at home for the night. They become friends and Giada confides that she is heartbroken at the idea of having to stay away from the family, in such an uncertain moment, especially for our parents. In the morning Kepa has already made his decision: he will take her back. Yes, directly in Montebello. Call the Basque police and the embassy to find out if the trip is actually possible. Going out of boundaries. He receives an affirmative answer that will fill Giada with enthusiasm.
Dopo dodici ore di viaggio in auto, senza che nessuno li abbia mai fermati durante il tragitto di 3700 chilometri, i due arrivano a Montebello verso le nove di sera. Giada conferma: Kepa non ha voluto un solo euro per la sfacchinata. Da buoni amici, hanno diviso autostrada e benzina, niente più. “Non ti chiedo nulla in un momento per te di grande difficoltà”: le ha detto Kepa declinando ogni offerta. Una risposta semplice ma che si colora di un’umanità rara di questi tempi.
After twelve hours of travel, without anyone stopping them during the 3700-kilometer journey, they arrive in Montebello around 9pm. Giada confirms: Kepa did not want a single euro. As good friends, they divided the cost of fuel and highways, no more. “I don’t ask you anything in a moment of great difficulty for you”: Kepa told her grandly disclaiming her offer. A simple answer that is colored by a remarkable kindness.
And that’s it. Even CNN had the pleasure to tell this story. And we too. Because we need stories like this. Believe in the generosity of others now seems to be a luxury. Kepa, a young taxi driver, is the living testimony that there are still gestures, but above all people capable of opening our hearts. And who can take us far, where we really want to be.