by Melinda Gallo

A surprise visit for Dave

I've had to keep a secret for about 6 weeks now and it has been very difficult for me. Dave's best friend Tom emailed me and told me that he and his wife would like to make a surprise visit in Florence for the weekend. He asked me to not tell Dave although each day it became harder and harder. I was so excited for Dave, but I just couldn't let myself spoil the surprise.

I told every person I know here so that I wouldn't leak the surprise to Dave. Normally, I can't keep a secret for more than 6 minutes. Usually, I tell Dave, I'm making you a surprise for dinner. And two minutes later, I ask, "Don't you want to know what it is?"

Tom told me that he'd be flying to Nice for someone's wedding and then they'd drive down here. He told me initially that his flight would arrive at about 9AM and that he'd leave right away. I figured that he'd get out of the airport around 10AM and then drive down should take six hours. So, I was expecting him around 5PM at the latest.

I got the first phone call around 5PM in which Tom said he was halfway here. Then at 7PM, they called and said they hadn't yet made it to La Spezia. I figured they were about 2 or so hours away.

On the last phone call at around 10PM, they called me to say they were near a Banca Toscana and a pizza place. "Do you know where we are?" they asked. Not at all, I said. They told me a few street names, but I hadn't heard of any of them. I told them that their best bet would be to ask someone how to get to Florence.

I started to worry at 11:30PM and didn't know what to do since they kept calling me from public phones. At 11:45PM the doorbell rang. I buzzed them in and told them to come up two flights of stairs. Dave didn't come to the door like I expected, so when I opened the door, they were silent. Tom walked back to where Dave was working and Ruth and I watched as Dave's face went from confusion to absolute joy.

Tom told me that when they asked at a pizza place to ask directions, a guy said that he lived in my area and that he and his friends would lead them in their car. Tom said that they followed these three guys in their car for about 20 minutes. The guys showed them a way to get downtown (because you can't normally just drive downtown in a car), where the parking garage is, and also where our street is. He tried to give the guy money, but he wouldn't accept it. The Italian guy told Tom, "Have a good time in Florence!"

I was so happy and grateful to hear that they met such great people to escort them into town.

We went to bed late after talking for hours together. Dave couldn't get over the fact that I could keep a secret for so long. But, I was more amazed about the guys escorting Tom to town. Thank you!

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