A few weeks ago, I landed in Osaka airport and hopped on a train bound for Kyoto.
Along the way to our AirBnB apartment near Karasuma Oike station, my boyfriend and I bought bento sets at the nearby convenience store to satiate our post-jetlag hunger.
It was approximately 20 minutes from Kyoto station to our apartment when I had a brilliant idea of documenting our first meal in Kyoto with my iPhone.
But here’s how shit unfolded: It went from “Eh? Where’s my phone?” to “Hey is my phone in your bag?” to “WHAT THE FUCK I LOST MY PHONE!” real quick.
To my horror, I realised I had failed technology…for once. My phone was lost in transit when it fell out of my bag I had placed on top of my luggage while rolling through the terrain.
Me being me, I said “die lah” and embraced my unfortunate fate of losing my phone for the first time, on the first day in a foreign land. Well, at least I did not curve into a fetus position and cry my problems away.
My partner, however, preserved his sanity with logical decisions hardwired in him.
As I was ready to prepare for my iPh-uneral, he grabbed the portable wifi, called my phone, slipped half his feet into the shoes and ran down to comb the area. I joined him soon after, not to find my phone, but to assure him it was okay to ~~let it go~~.
Pretty sure modern-day Elsa would’ve frozen her words if she had lost her phone. Dat bish ain’t gonna be Zen.
After 50 meters of hyperventilating inside, I prayed to Steve Job’s soul and a miracle happened: someone picked up my boyfriend’s call.
I couldn’t remember the exact conversation I had in broken English and Japanese but it went something like,
“Hello? This is my phone. Yes. Can you speak English/eigo ga hanasemasu ka?”
“Eh..hai..Where you? I give… you back.”
“Karasuma Oike eki (station) desu.“
“Give me 20 minutes… you wait for me there.”
“Thank you so much!” x 20
As we waited at the gantry area and watched salarymen tap in and out of the station, my inner cynical Singaporean started questioning if he would return it.
Every second felt a hundred times longer than it took.
But minutes later, I felt Guan Yin Ma sprinkle water on me as a slim bespectacled boy in a polo tee and baggy jeans ran towards me with beads of perspiration glistening on his forehead.
Although I was standing beside a huge heavily-tattooed man who forgot to cover his inks with a jacket when he ran out of the house, the boy flashed us the most genuine smile and handed me my phone.
There was nothing I could do but bow repeatedly, saying, “Oh my God thank you so much, thank you so much. This means so much to me. I don’t know how to thank you.”
He told me he was three stations away when he saw my phone on the floor near Nijo Castle. Till today, I’ve no idea how it ended up there because I only travelled from the airport to Karasuma Oike. He also told me he was a student in Kyoto and his name was something along Kenshiro.
Lost in disbelief, I forgot to take a picture with him.
I told him I had just arrived from Singapore and he shook my hands saying, “Enjoy your stay in Kyoto” with the warmest smile.
There are things in life that we learn to be grateful for; we say thank you, we pray, we find the good in bad days. But there are deeds of kindness far greater than we feel we deserve that hit us on days we never expect.
The small deeds stop us in our tracks, so we can evaluate ourselves and remember how one tiny action can make a huge difference for another.
So along with many others who make a lifelong impression in someone’s life, he will just be another kind soul, never to cross paths again.
My kind soul was just a stranger in a foreign place who took a train three stops away to return a phone on the floor while perspiring in the 17-degree weather to make sure he met me on time.
I doubted him because we all know people who cheat/lie to others and it’s sad how our culture snowballs the good and bad.
But each time we receive a kind deed by those who expect nothing but the personal choice to do the right thing, all we can do is simply pass it on.