Nearly 3 years ago, Jon lost his job the day before we were scheduled to leave on a two week trip to England to see my family and attend my cousin’s wedding.  We’d planned a 3 day trip to Florence in the middle of our trip, and we decided to go ahead with all of our plans despite the job loss.  We figured we’d have a nice vacation and deal with it all when we returned.

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On the flight to London. I look a little more stressed out than Jon.

On our last day in Florence, we wanted to take a bus to Fiesole, a small town in the hills above Florence.  In England, you pay your bus fare on the bus.  This is what I was used to, so Jon and I found the bus to Fiesole and hopped on.  The driver was nowhere to be found (on break?), so we sat down near the front and waited for him to return so we could pay.

Suddenly, the driver sprinted onto the bus, sat down, and started driving.  Crap.  Well, we’ll pay at the first stop.  BUT, the second the bus pulled up to its first stop, two transit policemen jumped onto the bus and demanded to see everyone’s ticket.  “Oh, ok. Maybe we can buy tickets from them.”

Um, no. (In case you’re curious and/or planning a trip to Florence, apparently bus tickets are supposed to be purchased in tobacco shops. What?!).

When the policemen reached us and discovered that we were ticketless, they freaked.  Like, yelled in Italian, demanded to see our passports, and ordered us to leave the bus and go with them.  We began to defend ourselves and try to reason with them, when a man onboard who spoke English told us we really needed to shut up and go with them.

The policemen–still holding onto our passports–took us off the bus and ordered us to walk down the street with them.  We walked a couple of blocks (I thought we were being taken to a police station), and then we came to an ATM.  In broken English, they demanded that we withdraw a certain amount of money; they then took the money, handed us our passports, and walked away.  Just like that, it was over.

It felt like we had been robbed.

Determined not to let this situation ruin the rest of the day, we caught another bus to Fiesole (after buying tickets at our friendly local tobacco shop).  I sobbed the whole way there.  It was so unjust, and I felt helpless and angry. The fact that Jon was unemployed and every dollar was precious made the whole situation so much bigger.

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finally in Fiesole. It was beautiful.

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Those glasses were hiding red, puffy eyes and streaky mascara.

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This old Italian man, who rides the bus to Fiesole everyday to sell jewelry, saw what happened to us and told us it was completely wrong and unfair. I bought 2 rings from him.

That evening, Jon quietly said, “I believe God will redeem this situation.  What the devil took from us, God will restore.”

We returned to Dallas the next week.  Our first Sunday back at church, a girl passed me in the hall, pressed a folded up check into my hand, and whispered “God told me to give you this.”

It was a check for the exact amount of money that had been taken from us by the policemen.

God is faithful, you guys.  He sees your every struggle, your every need, and He is faithful to restore all things.

 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:14


  • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

    Love this, Caroline!

    • http://CompletelyCaroline.com/ Caroline Grace

      Thanks, Jenn!

  • http://www.lifeastheartist.com Jusika from Life as the Artist

    Oh My Caroline, after living in Northeast Italy for three years I could totally see where this was going…this is so the life in Italia. If you ever get a speeding ticket also know they will take you to the nearest ATM to pay your bill.

    • http://CompletelyCaroline.com/ Caroline Grace

      Ahhh so crazy! I would be so freaked out all the time, if I lived there. Sad that a country that’s so beautiful (and delicious) can have such a yucky side. I still want to go back, though!

  • Vanessa Valentine Nixon

    I am reading this while riding the DART.. Better look for my ticket!

  • Natalie O’Donnell

    Oh my goodness! Whan an amazing testament to the Lord’s faithfulness! It’s like you witnessed your very own personal miracle. HE IS SO GOOD. ALL THE TIME. What an unbelieveable story–thank you for sharing, and showing that God is still very much alive and well at work in the lives of His people.