It was about 8 years ago. One early morning, I was heading to the airport to catch a flight to London, England, for my graduation solo trip. After the night of final packing, I had left my apartment in Tokyo with a backpack and one huge suitcase that contained all my clothing, travel gears and books for the upcoming 3-week train trip in Europe.
I rolled my heavy suitcase down the street, to the nearest subway station, then took the train to a stop near the Tokyo railway station, from where I was going to take a shuttle bus to the airport. Everything went smoothly as I had planned until I stumbled upon a problem.
When I came out of the ticket gate at the subway station, I realized that there was no elevator or escalator to go up to the ground level. This particular station was old, and the staircase was the only access to the streets.
I looked at my heavy suitcase, then at my watch. My shuttle bus was arriving any time, and I could not miss it. I looked around to see if there was anybody who could possibly lend me a hand. A few commuters passed by, but they were too preoccupied with their own thoughts to even notice me.
I looked up. The staircase was long and steep. Surely it was going to be a daunting task to bring my suitcase up this staircase all by myself. I preferred not to use up my energy so early in my journey, but seeing that there was no other option, I made up my mind.
Just when I held my breath to lift my suitcase, somebody called me from behind.
“Do you need a hand?”
It was a middle-aged gentleman in a black suit. He must be on his way to work. He carried a thin leather bag and newspaper in his hand.
Touched by his kindness, I hesitated for a second.
“That’s so kind of you,” I said. “But it’s really heavy…”
“Not a problem.”
The next moment, before I could say anything further, he lifted my suitcase in one hand and started walking up the staircase. He was so fast that I had to follow him running.
Within seconds, we were standing at the top of the staircase.
“There you go,” said the gentleman, carefully placing my suitcase on the floor.
“Thank you so much,” I said to him completely in awe.
I wanted to thank him further for his generosity, but when I opened my mouth, he was already gone. Just like when he appeared, his departure was also sudden and seamless. As I watched his back disappear into the morning crowd of commuters, one word came to my mind: a knight. This encounter with a modern knight made such a great beginning of my graduation trip that it remains one of the most cherished memories from that entire trip.