Beautiful Souls are Found in the Most Unassuming Places


This one will be a long one, but the story is SO beautiful! It actually involves two encounters with the man on the right. The man on my left is my father, and both men are heroes.

The first encounter with this man occurred back in 2012. I wasn’t yet what you would call an experienced traveler yet. I was still getting my feet wet. My sister and I had planned a trip to Austria and Ireland. We started in Vienna and planned for 4 days traveling from Vienna making various stops along the way until we reached Bavaria. One stop was in the most unassuming town, really not close to any major tourist spots, but we stayed here after visiting the Austrian concentration camp Mauthausen. The town was called St.Valentine, and this was also where I met the man in the photo.

You see, when we arrived in Vienna, I was greeted with a nasty sore throat. By day two I could barely swallow, and I was also feeling achy. This was going to ruin my trip! I didn’t want to slow down my sister, but I felt terrible. Not to mention scared! I didn’t know what to do in a foreign country when you had strep throat! I texted my parents and asked them to please pray for me…and hoped for a miracle. Well my father prayed but also did more than that…

By the end of day 2, we reached St. Valentine. Our reservation was at a bed & breakfast, possibly the only one in the town. It was a tiny town! We walked in and greeted the boy, literally maybe 16-17 years old, who was at the reception desk. I had made the reservation, so I greeted him and gave him my name. He repeated my name and looked down at a piece of paper. Then he put up a hand and said, “You are Lyndsey? One minute.” And he disappeared. My sister and I looked at each other, confused as to what was going on. A few minutes later the man in the photo came in from the back door. He had a brown paper bag and gave it to me. Inside was medicine! He didn’t speak English, so he asked his son to translate. Apparently, when I texted my father, my dad pulled up our itinerary and contacted the gentleman in the photo, who happened to be the owner of the Bed and Breakfast. He explained his daughter was very sick, and she needed a certain kind of medicine to get well. The man was willing and able to go to the local pharmacy and get the medicine! How, I will never know, and I also didn’t bother to ask.

That night, my throat was still on fire and I struggled to fall asleep. I found myself laying next to my sister, who was fast asleep, staring up at the ceiling. Then, as the rest of the hotel grew quiet, and other tenants went into their rooms, I could hear the faint sound of a piano playing. At first I couldn’t tell if it was someone who was drunk at the bar and just hitting keys, but the the more I strained to listen, the more it sounded like the person knew what he or she was doing. I slipped out from the covers and quietly left the room, locking the door behind me (I’ll get back to that in a minute). I carefully walked down stairs and followed the sound of the music. The music was coming from the dining room. I pushed through the French doors, and my eyes fell to the center of the room, where there was none other than the owner of the bed & breakfast. He sat by himself at a baby grand piano and was playing a beautiful piece of music.

I didn’t want to interrupt, so I quietly seated myself in the corner. He heard me nonetheless and turned his head. He didn’t stop playing though. He just smiled and turned back to the keys. When he finished, he turned again to me and said, “this is how I *exhale*,” and he let out a deep sigh. I smiled and said, “beautiful.” He went back to playing, but he continued to try and speak to me in English. He played a few songs I was familiar with, like “What a Wonderful World” and then he played a song for me that he wrote for his daughter who just had a baby. Then he finished with one of my favorite songs, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It was indescribable, and I found myself crying. What kind of moment was this? Just me and the owner of the Bed & Breakfast. This owner of a bed & breakfast, who was also a phenomenal pianist. All in this little unknown town in Austria! After he finished playing, sometime around 1:00am, he stood up, went to the bar in corner of the room, and reached up and brought down something from the shelf. It was a CD. “A gift for you,” he said and handed it to me. I looked down, and it was a CD of his music. I put it to my chest and said, “thank you.” By then, it was time for both of us to go to bed. I stood up, wished him goodnight, and went back to my room.

Meanwhile, during that magical moment, unbeknownst to me, I had accidentally locked my sister in the room. She had of course awakened when I left the room, and found herself unable to leave the room to search for me! I had left all my belongings in the room, including my passport, and the slew of scenarios was going through her head as to what may have happened to me. So, I returned to my room, with my heart full of joy, only to have the light snap on, and there lay my sister, in tears. “If you ever leave me like that again, I will never travel with you ever again!” I rushed to the bed and basically laid on top of her, held her as she cried, and apologized over and over. I reassured her that I was fine, but the damage was done. Great story, but BIG MISTAKE!

Okay, now fast forward a year and half. My parents came to visit me, and we planned to make a few stops in Austria and Italy. Of course, my dad asked to go to St. Valentine. I tried to make a booking, but unfortunately, there wasn’t any availability at the little B&B. Nevertheless, we traveled out to see if the owner was still there. When we arrived, the place was closed. I don’t remember if I tried to call, but we waited around for awhile, just hoping that maybe just maybe we’d see him. We peered through the windows, and suddenly we saw someone walking through. We knocked on the door and the person let us in. It was the owner! I wasn’t sure if he remembered me, so I showed him a picture he and I took together the day I left. He didn’t seem to need the picture. He put his arms around me and gave me a hug, and my dad shook his hand, and then asked for a picture too.

Great souls are found all over the world

3 thoughts on “Beautiful Souls are Found in the Most Unassuming Places”

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