VATICAN CITY (June 20, 2013)--Pope Francis gave a 17-year-old boy with Down syndrome the ride of his life.
Francis invited Alberto di Tullio up onto his open-top Mercedes at the end of his general audience Wednesday, and let him spin around on the pontiff's white chair while tens of thousands of people looked on.
The boy's father told The Associated Press that he choked up when Francis approached his son.
"The pope saw him, embraced him. Then Alberto pointed to the car, and so he brought him up!” Celestino di Tullio said.
The blue-and-white-striped Argentine national soccer jersey that Alberto was wearing may have been what caught the pope’s eye.
The family's parish priest gave it to him Wednesday morning before the papal audience.