Vacation Story – An purposeful act of kindness.

Italian Sweets

Rita and I, along with another couple, went to Italy for vacation.  One of our excursions was to the town of Amalfi, a quaint town nested between mountains and southern coast.  We were window shopping along this wonderful narrow street when we saw this sweet shop that also offered drinks.  

We went inside and placed our order. I had baked marinque and a scotch.  Rita had a filled croissant and a glass of Sambuca (I think).  The woman who took our order was a pleasant middle aged Italian who could not speak any English. Since we could not speak any Italian, we pointed, made jesters, and got by somehow.

I snapped these pictures with my Pentax SLR K-x digital camera that we carried everywhere with us. We had been taking pictures for days and had about 150 photos on the memory card.  

We took our drinks and snacks outside to sit at the only table for her store to watched people go by while we enjoyed food and drinks.  Since the table was so small, I hung the camera on the back of my chair.

About 10 minutes later, our friends came along and we quickly finished our drinks and food, carried the glasses and trash inside and left to continue our trip for the day to visit ruins about 2 hours south.

When we arrived at Pasetum around 4:30pm we were worried it may be closed. As we got out of the car, I asked Rita to give me the camera from the back seat.  She said she didn’t have it. I stopped cold for three seconds, but it felt like an hour.  I had remembered putting the $450 camera on the back of the chair, but I did not remember taking it off the chair when we left.  I felt like a forgetful old man, and embarrassed that I had done such a stupid thing.  

Many thoughts raced  through my mind: there is no way for us to get there in time tonight to see if it was still there, with the number of people, local and tourists, who passed by that same store, somebody surly saw it and picked it up, there is nothing in or on the camera to identify who we were, the chances of us ever getting it back will be very small, we are out $450.  And, the worst thought: four days of our vacation pictures were gone with it.  

We agreed that tomorrow, Rita and I, would drive our rental car back to Amalfi to see if, maybe, just maybe, the shop owner found it and kept it for us. We didn’t let it ruin our day, but there was this cloud of doubt hanging over our heads.

For the rest of the day, I took pictures with my Droidx.  In this photo, I think Rita may have had dreams of me being fed to the lions by the Romans in this Colosseum.

The next day, we left early in the morning from Sorrento to drive back to Amalfi.  The drive was not as much fun, since was raining. I hoped that was not an bad omen of things to come.

We arrived at the Sweet and Bar shop around 10:30.  As soon as the shop owner saw me, she held up here finger as to say: “Wait!” and then with both hands made a jester of framing and taking a picture with a camera and pointed to me.  

She pointed to a display case where I saw was my red Pentax SLR digital camera. 

I was lost for words. Even if I knew Italian, I was still lost for words.  Rita had tears in her eyes. We both thank her many times and as I was given my camera, I dug into my pocket to give her a reward. I had little Euros on me so I gave her all the coins I had, about 10EU.  

Later, I went back to get her name and mailing address. Rita and I plan on making her some handmade pottery piece and sending it to her.

Her name is Teresa. The shop or Bar Pasticcria, is named “Lo Scugnizzo” Snack Bar.  It is located at: Vil P Capuano, 16, Amalfi, Italy.  You can find it on Google maps as well.

Teresa restored our faith in the honesty of humans. Thank you Teresa!