When you travel, you always meet people who stick with you for your entire life. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'd be digging up some old photos to share, and this is one of those gems. In college I studied abroad, and one of the courses I took was an advanced photography class. That week's assignment was to photograph someone in window light. Being in Italy, the opportunities were endless. We just had to be gutsy enough to strike up a conversation with someone who may or may not speak the same language. We were walking around different neighborhoods where bustling cafes abounded, when we found him. The quintessential Italian. His name was Salvatore. Now Salvatore did not speak English, but he was thrilled at the aspect of being photographed. Conversation consisted of a blend of broken English and minimal Italian, and a LOT of hand gestures. When we finished, we asked the waitress for his address so when we were back State-side we could send him the photographs we took. It was then that she told us that he was a fixed customer, meaning he was homeless. He would come to the cafe each morning, and they would serve him coffee, and he read the paper. I was shocked. He was so put together. After our encounter I saw him on two other occasions. Once sleeping on a park bench, and once when we were doing an early morning shoot by the Uffizi Gallery. When he spotted us he eagerly approached us, and once again we "conversed" as best we could in our own languages. The common language between us: kindness. Now I don't know why Salvatore was homeless, and I don't know his situation. But from our limited ability to speak to each other, I noticed other things about him. The joy in his eyes was evidenced by deep laugh lines etched in his face. This man was wise. You can just look at him and see that. Most of all, he was gentle and kind. There was an easy openness about him. He welcomed us, saw foreign strangers as friends. In our brief encounters, I learned much from him about simplicity and treatment of others. I think of Salvatore often, and hope that wherever he lays his head tonight, that he is still as warm and happy as he was when I encountered him 7 years ago.