Italian Student Stranded In Spain Finds Hero in The Taxi Driver Who Drove Her Home For Free, Says Pandemic Can Bring Out The Best In People!

Photo by Chiara Collalto

Well, we know the entire world is undergoing through the deadliest pandemic, and a majority of the population is facing difficulty moving with their ordinary lives. Here’s a story of one young Italian student stranded in Spain due to the COVID-19 crisis, who was recently driven over 900 miles home for free by a Spanish cab driver.

Giada Collalto, 22, had been living in Bilbao, Spain, to study European language course when ~ unfortunately for her and thousands of others ~ the coronavirus outbreak left her quarantined without hope of getting home. However, after a series of unusual setbacks, a stroke of luck got her safely back to her family in Venice, Italy.

Once Collalto heard the whispers of the COVID-19 outbreak, she decided to wait and see how things would go forward, but when in mid-March the semester was prematurely ended, and lectures and exams were moved online, she realized that staying in Bilbao was ‘no longer needed’ and, “I was alone, also my two Spanish flatmates had left,” she told CNN.

Collalto was determined to go home and meet her parents. And she induced hours on the internet and phone calls with the Italian embassy to find anything that gets her home.

She even arranged a plane ticket from Madrid to Paris to Rome, then to Venice on April 8. But, the Italian power had already implemented the severest quarantine measures, including a 200-meter restriction of travel around one’s house even in rural areas, and a flight attendant informed her she wasn’t allowed to broad.

Plus, the 22-year-old Italian student was now stranded in Madrid, “I was desperate and angry, my parents were worried but couldn’t do anything to help me,” she also added, “All hotels in Madrid were closed, with no public transport to go back to Bilbao.”

But, gladly, a friend of hers from Bilbao contacted a cab driver named Kepa Amantegi, also 22.

Photo by Chiara Collalto

“He immediately said he was available to come to pick me up, and he drove nine hours from Bilbao to Madrid and back,” Collalto stated.

However, once she was back in Bilbao, she learned her apartment was no longer available, so Kepa proposed to host Collalto in his family home for the night.

“His parents and his two sisters welcomed me as a member of the family, I will never forget their kindness,” Collalto revived.

The next morning, she and Kepa began working on an insane idea to drive back to Italy.

“We called the local authorities and, as incredible as it may seem, we got all the necessary authorizations. I was allowed since I was traveling back home, and he, as a taxi driver, was allowed because of his work,” Collalto explained, adding, Kepa charged her nothing in return for the trip, “I insisted on paying him, but he didn’t want to take advantage of my difficult situation,” she concluded.

Kepa was invited to spend the night at Collalto’s parents, returning home the following morning with a basket of treats from the region ~ wine, grappa, and lots of chocolate.

“It’s something I will never forget, I was a complete stranger to this young man,” she told CNN, appending, “I think this pandemic can bring out the best in people.”

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