“What’s your name?”
Sometimes two simple questions are enough to set someone’s life back on track.
And these are precisely the questions that changed, or rather – returned – life to an unfortunate Italian lady in the most unexpected way.
Elena is a 61 year old woman of good will, and yet against that very will she has found herself living on the street for months, sleeping on a bench in Piazza Bernini, Milan.
She has been sleeping there countless nights and had been begging for money on the stairs of the church square church every day, a board hanging from her neck: “I am Italian and unemployed. If you wish to offer a job to me…Thank you.”
Elena had owned a modest little coffee bar in Piazza Ascoli, which she managed well until she discovered to have more than 30.000€ of arrears that the business’ seller had withheld.
All of a sudden, she was evicted.
With no family who could help her, and many unsuccessful job applications, Elena felt she had reached the end of the line.
Until one morning, when a passer-by who would give her a coin every day stopped and chatted with her.
“What’s your name? What happened?” he asks.
Elena tells her story. The response to his two questions was enough for him to take action, without even being asked to: the kind passer-by paid the arrears and provided Elena with a lawyer to make a damage claim against the fraudulent seller.
Elena is now back in possession of her coffee bar. She can finally work and support herself again.
She can finally live her life again, and all of this thanks to a kind stranger.
When interviewed, the mysterious saviour minimized his extraordinary act of generosity as if his meeting with Elena had been inevitably written somewhere, and asked the journalists to leave his identity anonymous. But his kindness well deserves attention. He did not only give her back a job and a house (yes, he also paid her rent and utilities). He did not only return her dignity and relationships. He also refused anything in exchange, even the small satisfaction of his name in a newspaper. Italians have decided to give him a (nick)name anyway, though: he is Angelo, Elena’s guardian Angel.