A guilt-ridden American is asking for forgiveness after swiping a piece of ancient marble during a trip to Rome.
According to Insider, the Nation Roman Museum recently received a package from Atlanta that contained a chunk of marble inscribed with the words: "To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017." The parcel included an apology note, in which the sender expressed their remorse and asked for forgiveness.
"Please forgive me for being such an American a--hole," the letter read. "I took something that was not mine to take. I feel terrible for not only having taken this item from its rightful place, but having written on it as well ... I spent hours trying to remove the writing, but without success."
The museum's director, Stéphane Verger, told Il Messaggero that the piece of marble was likely taken from a site like the Roman Forum, which is home to a number of ruins. Though the shard reportedly had little value, Verger said he was moved by the gesture.
"In 2017 she must have come to Rome, and took this fragment of marble in order to gift it to her boyfriend," Veger said. "It made an impact on me precisely because she is young — she understood that she had made a mistake."
It's unclear what prompted the tourist to return the shard of marble, but Verger speculates the sender may have been inspired by a recent similar case. Back in October, a Canadian tourist identified as "Nicole" returned five artifacts she had taken from the ancient site of Pompeii. She, too, included an apology letter in the package and claimed the items had brought nothing but bad luck to her and her family.
"We are good people and I don't want to pass this curse on to my family or children. For this forgive me for the gesture made years ago, I learned my lesson," she wrote, according to People. "I just want to shake off the curse that has fallen on me and my family. Please accept these artifacts so that you do the right thing for the mistake I made. I am so sorry, one day I will return to your beautiful country to apologize in person."