DES MOINES, Iowa — Strangers two weeks ago have been united through adversity. “To receive kindness you give kindness and it definitely does come back. It is supernatural,” said Kirsten Venditti.
Graduating from Grand View University on May 1st was a dream come true moment for Venditti’s son and South African native Alessandro Venditti. “I’m the first person in my family to get a degree and that’s all because my mother and father,” said Alessandro.
But flying to the family dream from Johannesberg to Des Moines became a nightmare for Kirsten. She said, “I was stuck in this strange country with nobody that I knew.”
After a twenty-six-hour flight and five-hour layover in Chicago Kirsten thought the home stretch was near. Then the flight to Des Moines was canceled minutes before boarding. “Tears were just rolling down my face,” said Kirsten.
The next flight available was the day after her son’s graduation. Kirsten said, “All I could think of was you know what God please give me the strength to get through this and I need to have some help. I have to get to Des Moines.”
Seeing a mother’s pain, Gayle Boggess stepped in, “I just kept thinking I’m a mom and I’d want someone to do this for me especially if I traveled so far. It’s important to be there for your kids.”
Gayle and her husband Dave are from the Des Moines metro. They were also on the canceled flight after their trip to Egypt and made a quick decision. “I said, I think I can get a car. Should I book it? She said yes,” said Dave. All three hopped in a rental car and drove to Des Moines. “It was like we have room let’s go,” said Dave. Gayle added, “We are going right by there.”
Despite her joy, it left Kirsten’s husband in South Africa a little worried. “I’m going to travel six hours in a strange country with a strange couple? In his mind he is thinking of what we see on the Hollywood movies,” Kirsten said.
Arriving at 6 am just hours before the ceremony Kirsten grabbed a quick nap and made it to Wells Fargo Arena for the graduation. “He came in holding the South African flag. I just couldn’t resist and I just yelled, ‘Alessandro, Chicho’ because his nickname is Chicho,” said Kirsten.
After the shared journey the Boggess’ and Vendittis are strangers no more. Dave said, “I think we made lifelong friends. I think we have a new place to travel to.”
A miraculous finish turned friendship. “Just shows there are really special people in this world and you just have to find them,” said Alessandro.
Alessandro’s degree is in business administration. The Boggess family was also invited to a barbeque held by some of Alessandro’s teammates. Many of them thanked Dave and Gayle for bringing Alessandro’s mom to Des Moines.