17-year-old Alberto di Tullio, who was born with Down syndrome, was hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis and enjoy his time with his father at the Vatican. He got a lot more than he bargained for once the leader of the Catholic Church spotted him in his bright blue Argentina soccer jersey and invited him onto Pope Francis' Popemobile.
Not only did the Pope allow Alberto to come on stage in front of an audience of tens of thousands of on-lookers, but he also let the bewildered teen with Down syndrome ride on the famous Popemobile.
Although the automobile specifically used for transporting the Pope during outdoor appearances is usually encased in bulletproof glass, Pope Francis rides in an open-top Mercedez.
Alberto's father, Celestino was in the same state of shock as his son. "The pope saw him, embraced him." Celestina told the Associated Press. "Then Alberto pointed to the car, and so he brought him up!"
This is not the first time the recently elected Pope Francis has stopped one his processions to acknowledge a child with special needs.
In early April, Francis stopped the Popemobile while circling St. Peter's Square, and in an astonishing display of compassion, picked up a child with cerebral palsy to give him a hug and kiss on the check for the world to see.
The boy's father, Paul Gondreau, expected nothing less from kind-hearted Bishop of Rome, ""Pope Francis gets it, he knows the amazing gifts our special needs children offer the world and he wants the world to know too!"