Subject: Re: The kindness of strangers
Hi Ziners,

I too experienced an act of kindness in Italy several years ago. My husband and I were searching for a particular restaurant near Naples. It was recommended by a shop keeper who said that it was his cousin's restaurant. He gave us a business card with something written on the back of it. I speak very little Italian and soon we were very lost because of my inability to fully understand the driving directions that I had received in Italian.

Just when we were about to give up, we saw 2 Italian policemen on motorcycles. I got out of the car and approached them. As luck would have it, they didn't speak any English. I tried to explain my problem with a few Italian words and a lot of hand gestures. They looked at me blankly, clearly they didn't have a clue as to what I needed. Then I showed them the business card. They motioned for me to get back in my car. Then they pulled their motorcycles around in front of our car and motioned for us to follow them. My husband said only half jokingly, "Oh fine, now are we going to jail?" These fine Italian policeman provided us with a motorcycle escort that led us winding through the countryside for a good 20 minutes. Then they pointed to an unmarked door in a tall wall and waved good-bye.

We had no idea where we were but we approached the door and pulled the rope that rang a bell. The man that answered the bell had only 2 words for us, "NO...CLOSED" in desperation, I pulled out the business card again. He took one look at the back of the card and suddenly, WE WERE FAMILY!

He brought us into the most wonderful garden restaurant. We were seated at a table out on a point overlooking the sea and the Isle of Capri. The restaurant was closed until dinner (another 2 hours) but they served us antipasti, bread and wine. We enjoyed the afternoon sun at our "private" restaurant and stayed on for dinner and late into the evening. We could not believe our incredible good fortune.

We're still not sure how we drove back to Rome that night (arriving just before dawn) but we awoke in our hotel room... smiling. Some day we'd love to go back but we don't remember the way or the name of the restaurant. So it will be another adventure!

Thank you for letting me share this memory.

My husband likes to say that we never go on vacation, we go on adventures.

Barbara, In California wine country.