A piece of glass
“God’s best creations are the fellow-angels through whom He works.” Franco kept staring at
the money in his hand.
It was Franco’s first day at work as he sat watching two of his fellow-Gondoliers arguing
heatedly over the next ride. A slack tourist season made it difficult to earn enough. But Franco always dreamt of becoming a great Gondolier like his Father and was willing to rough it out a bit. As a little boy he often accompanied his Father on the Gondola rides and observed how his Father deftly maneuvered his way through the canals of the floating city, Venice. While observing was important actually rowing a Gondola was a totally different thing. Having lost his Father at an early age didn’t make the learning any easy. Now at the young age of sixteen Franco had only his confidence and memories of his Father - the soulful songs he sang, his red and white striped shirt fluttering in the breeze, the red handkerchief knotted around his neck and the large straw hat on his head…
The work rule was that the in-coming Gondolier had to get back into the line and await his
turn so that everyone had a fair chance. Franco was next in line. The in-coming Gondola pulled up to the side for the tourist to alight. Just as she stepped out the Gondola titled a bit making the elderly lady lose her balance. Franco lunged forwards and managed to save her from falling into the water but the small glass effigy she held fell from her hands and hit the cobbled ground and broke into pieces! Everyone noticed this but the Gondoliers ignored it and called out to Franco, “Ride the next tourist!” But Franco faltered. He did come from a poor background but the up-bringing was based on rich values. Yes, this was his turn to ride the Gondola for the very first time but how could he not help?! “You go ahead.” he shouted to the next gondolier in line and bent down to look for the pieces of broken glass. Franco’s friend Giovanni was hassled, “You gave up your chance! That wasn’t very smart.” he said.
Franco managed to pick up all the pieces of broken glass, except one. He noticed that it was
a Murano glass effigy of Gabriel the Angel that stood atop the bell tower at St. Mark Square.
He tried looking for the only missing piece – The Halo. As he turned to hand over the glass
pieces the elderly lady smiled at Franco and held up the small glass Halo in her wrinkled fingers and collected the rest of the pieces from him. “It’s Okay Giovani. Tomorrow’s another day.” said Franco.
As he turned to leave the elderly lady said, “God bless you, Son.” She handed out some
money. “It’s for the ride you missed.” She then gave the little glass Halo to Franco. “I want
you to keep this as well. God’s best creations are the fellow-angels through whom He works.
Thank you for being my guardian angel today. Places become beautiful because of the
experiences we associate with them. This effigy will always remind me of you and I will know
that this missing Halo adorns your Head. So saying she turned and slowly walked away.
Franco kept staring at the money in his hand. It was more than enough for buying a brandnew Gondola! The elderly lady’s words rang in his ears, “God’s best creations are the fellowangels through whom He works.”
Giovanni broke the silence, “Maybe then, it’s true! In Venice you always stay afloat!”