Elderly man calls the mayor every day…
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Elderly man calls the mayor every day to insult her: she visits his house with croissants and a friendship is born

May 24, 2022 • By Mark Bennett

When one is in a position to do something for one's neighbor, one should not hesitate to take the initiative. The mayor of an Italian village, in the province of Ravenna, was very good at patiently listening to the complaints from an elderly fellow citizen who wanted to moan to her about the same thing on a daily basis. Every day, in fact, Mr. Renato, a sprightly ninety-year-old, berated the mayor, since according to him, she was not acting promptly to solve the problem of there being a very noisy street right next to his house. Valentina Palli, the mayor, showed up at Mr. Renato's house without an appointment, with croissants and a pressing need to better understand the elderly man's problem.

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The mayor of the municipality of Russi, Valentina Palli, and her staff received daily phone calls from Mr. Renato - very harsh phone calls, in which the elderly citizen ranted on about his problem, and insulting more or less everyone involved. His main target was, of course, the mayor, who was supposedly guilty of doing nothing to solve his problem of there being a noisy street right next to his house. The mayor, then, decided to surprise Mr. Renato and to show up at his house with cornetti (croissants), at around half past ten in the morning. It must have been a real surprise for Mr. Renato, who talked for an hour with the mayor, telling her his story.

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In a post on Facebook, the mayor wrote: "On a sunny day, and without warning him, I showed up at his house. I was there for an hour, chatting, listening to the history of his life and of his family. We talked a little bit about the noisy street, but in fact, for most of our time together, we talked about other things. Since that day, his phone calls to my office have changed. The street noise must have stopped because it has not been reported on again by this senior citizen".

From that moment on, the relationship between Mr. Renato and the mayor changed: the elderly man now calls her to say hello and there is no day that goes by without the mayor being reminded who Mr. Renato is. Even when Mr. Renato got Covid and was forced to stay in the hospital, the mayor and her staff made him feel less lonely. She said: ​​"From the hospital, and since he is alone, he called us and we did the same for him - calling him on the phone and asking the doctors how he was, to make sure he didn't feel too lonely (we were forbidden to enter the hospital ...). Eventually, Mr. Renato recovered and went home. As he says: 'at his age, it is a miracle that he made it back!' and he was very emotionally move on the phone when I called him to welcome him back to the community. "

image: Wikimedia

The mayor's kind actions were recognised by everyone in the community and she certainly did not expect the story to make it into the newpapers and social media. What she did is the fruit of the upbringing she received - in a small village with only a handful of inhabitants, and where everyone knows everyone, having empathy for others is essential. Rare acts of kindness like this make the news precisely because they are so rare - especially amongst those who live in big cities, where distances often alienate others, and make everyone feel more lonely.


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