Thousands of people gathered inside Abu Dhabi’s city stadium for a historic mass held by Pope Francis during the first ever papal visit to the Arabian peninsula. But neither the thronging crowd nor the Pope’s security team could stop a young girl from getting her petition across to the head of the Vatican on Tuesday.
The six-year-old, identified as Gabriella, broke through the security surrounding the Pope while he was being ferried around on his popemobile (a motor vehicle used by the Pope during public appearances) to hand over a letter. Seeing the girl running up to him, the Pope signalled to the driver to stop the vehicle and gave his blessings to the girl after she handed it over. Footage of the incident was posted on social media.
In an interview with Gulf News, Gabriella’s mother Jessica said the letter contained a special request but did not want to reveal what exactly it was. She and her two daughters had arrived from Columbia to just to see the Pope.
Speaking to reporters after the incident, Pope Francis called Gabriella “courageous.” “I said, ‘No, let her come!’ That girl has a future,” he said. He did not reveal details about the contents of the letter either.