Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

Taxi car
Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

When it first hit, the global pandemic left many people stranded all around the globe, often pretty far away from home. Such was the case with 22-year-old Italian student Giada Collalto who is studying European Language studies at the Spanish city of Bilbao. When news of the outbreak broke out, and people had to quarantine in their homes, it became pretty clear the Giada wasn’t going to be able to get to her hometown of Venice.

An Italian Stranded in Spain

Giada Collalto photographed next to a Bilbao sign
Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

Collalto’s semester ended prematurely in mid-March, and her lectures were transferred to online broadcasting. That’s when Giada realized it was time to get back home, as no one knew how long this pandemic would last, and there was no point in sitting in a foreign country only to be attending school virtually. She could do that from her own home. So, she bought a plane ticket from Madrid to Paris, Rome, and then to Venice. Giada only made it to Madrid. By the time she got there, restrictions were harsher, and international air travel was banned.

The Kindness of a Young Taxi Driver

The taxi driver photographed inside his car
Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

There was no public transport to help her get back to Bilbao, so a friend of hers contacted a taxi driver to go and get her. This 22-year-old, Kepa Amantegi, was about to become Giada’s hero the next day. The young man drove nine hours from Bilbao to Madrid and then back. When he returned Giada to her apartment, she was informed it was no longer available. Kepa immediately invited her to spend the night with his family.

The taxi driver pictured inside a cafe
Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

The next morning, the newly formed friends decided to find out if it was legally possible to simply drive the 900 miles to Venice. Surprisingly enough, they got all the necessary authorizations and set out on the journey. The best part? Kepa, who had to drive a total of 1,800 miles to, and then back from Venice, asked nothing in return. He refused to get paid saying, it’s just not fair to take advantage of someone in such a difficult position.

Kepa (on the right) and Giada (on the right)
Stranded Student Gets a Free 900-Mile Ride From Compassionate Taxi Driver

When interviewed by CNN, Giada said she believes the pandemic can truly bring out the best in people. It sure did for Kepa!