I had a fabulous day of shopping in Firenze, which I will blog about later. The point of THIS story, is that , unfortunately, I arrived in Florence with a blister on my bunion. After walking and shopping from 8 a.m. through the Mercato Centrale, San Lorenzo, down Via Proconsolo, around the Palazzo Vecchio, a stop for lunch, Santa Croce neighborhood, and ending up at Santo Spirito, my feet could go no more. This was a fabulous accident, or just fate. We walked to a taxi stand. There were no taxis for several minutes. Finally along came a strange looking vehicle... a white station wagon, decorated with bright stickers, decals, and plush flowers. The inside was even more "decorated" with floor mats that looked like black & white checkered tile, TONS of stuffed animals, and baskets of lollipops. The driver was an attractive woman wearing a large hat, covered in flowers.
She was quite a character, and at first I thought she was a harmless eccentric "nutcase". She talked about how the world needed more love, and didn't have a clue where our hotel was. We directed her along the way, as she talked about how people should worry less about money, and concentrate more on love. Then she explained that her husband had died of cancer six years ago. This had been his taxi. Then her close friend lost a child, Tommasino, to cancer. SHe now uses her cab to transport cancer patients for free, and to take children with cancer for rides. In the back seat we saw photos of her with Paul Newman and other celebs. She has established a foundation in Tommasino's name.
By the time we got her to our hotel, she was my new best friend. Brad tipped her triple our fare, and I was in tears when we got out. She posed for this photo, Her tearful and heartfelt message was to make the most of every day and to share love with others. I was GRATEFUL that my blister prevented us from walking back to the hotel, or we would not have met this amazing woman. (My foot did NOT hurt later at dinner!)