Pope Francis immediately halted his motorcade when a group of people with signs caught his attention.
The banners read, "Please Pope stop here to see an angel who has been waiting for you," and, "Please come and bless little Roberta."
The family of Roberta, a young woman who cannot breathe unassisted or travel very far away from her home, hoped to greet Pope Francis as he returned to the Vatican from Cassano allo Jonio, where he denounced the horrible crimes of the mafia.
They got their wish as the pope rushed to greet them, blessing Roberta with a kiss before shaking hands with her friends and family. He hopped out of his car almost before it stopped moving in his eagerness to meet the family.
Pope Francis has repeatedly emphasized the importance of caring for the vulnerable, particularly the disabled and the poor. This past Holy Thursday, he performed a ritual foot washing for twelve elderly and disabled people at the Don Gnocchi Center in Rome, wiping and kissing their feet.
Roberta's family showed their appreciation with a large banner hung in front of their house, which said, "Thank you very much!" in Italian.