You wouldn’t expect to see Messi taking public transportation, let alone blending in with the masses, well, anywhere. That’s why when Santiago J. Lopez Blasco saw Argentine basketball player Paula Reggiardo riding the bus after she and the rest of her team placed fifth at the Pan American Games, he was so moved that he wrote her a letter. Santiago admits that he didn’t know her name, and at first, didn’t even realize she was an athlete. “She stood out to me because she had so many things, but immediately I realized why,” he said. “She was an athlete returning from competition.”
Santiago overheard Paula speaking to another passenger, so he was able to piece together that she was a basketball player and that the only two teams they lost against medalled. Though he made assumptions about her life, saying that maybe no one was available to meet her at the airport, he also called attention to the fact that this was an accomplished female athlete. Unlike Messi, Angel Di Mari, and Manu Ginobli, she and her team were probably not bombarded by reporters wanting to know every single detail. “I thought about how many hours, days, weeks, years of her life she dedicated to basketball,” he said. “And of how many things she put aside so that the sport could be her top priority.” Seriously, all of this.
Santiago couldn’t bring himself to give Reggiardo props in front of the entire bus, but his letter did get more than 200,000 people to know her name. Read the full letter below.