Monday, April 14, 2003
I had an 18-hour layover in Rome, a city I had never been in before. My missionary friend was willing to take me on a whirlwind tour, rainy day and all. We began at the ruins of the ancient Coliseum, a must-see for all of us Rome tourists. I left most of my luggage in an airport locker, but I was carrying my camera and my personal bag over one shoulder, an umbrella in one hand, and my camera in the other hand. Suddenly, we were surrounded by a small gang of pre-teen street kids - many of whom, as I learned later, frequent that area to hit up tourists like me. As they encircled us and started chattering and grabbing at us, I tried to make sure they didn't get any of my things. My friend got rid of them with a brandishing of his umbrella. We were about a block past the point of our encounter, when a dark-haired little girl came running after us, waving something blue in her hand. It was my passport! It had been in the vest pocket in my coat. It had somehow dropped out in all the confusion, unbeknownst to me. She handed it to me and then she ran away. God bless her.