Baidu Beat

To those who lament that chivalry is dead, look no further than the streets of Beijing. Dressed in a black cloak, black boots, a black facemask, and a black cowboy hat, an anonymous man has been performing small acts of kindness around the city. Ask him what his name is and he responds, “Just call me the Incredible Shining Knight,” a name taken from the 2011 Chinese film “Mr. and Mrs. Incredible” (神奇侠侣).

The persona of this gallant (goofy?) Good Samaritan took shape before Christmas, following a microblog thread in which people shared small wishes for the future. Reading these postings, the man who would become the Shining Knight felt inspired to do everything within his power to help.

One person wrote that she hopes her sick grandmother’s surgery goes smoothly – the Shining Knight said he would pray for her. Another person said he wanted to give his old sleeping bag to someone in need – the Shining Knight picked up the sleeping bag and delivered it to a homeless person on the street, posting a picture as proof of the accomplished deed. Just last week, in response to the pleas of three migrant workers for help buying train tickets home during Chinese New Year, the Shining Knight managed to purchase three tickets for them.

The self-fashioned superhero is now an established figure around town, but he didn’t start out that way. Expecting his actions to speak louder than words, the Shining Knight never publicly announced that he would don a Zorro-esque outfit. In one of his first missions to deliver a rose to a guy’s girlfriend, the woman was absolutely horrified at the sight of him, rendering the well-intended act a disaster.

The only thing known about the Shining Knight is that he was born in the 1980s; his real name, his age, his work situation, etc. all remain a mystery. Funding all expenses from his own pocket, the man bought his props from the online shopping portal Taobao (淘宝) and says that the nature of his work – thoughtful but not capital intensive – means that he expends more effort than he does money. The Shining Knight says he hasn’t calculated how many total people he’s helped, but he’s committed to the cause…and looking for recruits…

“White collar embodiment of the Shining Knight” (白领化身炯炯侠, báilǐng huàshēn jiǒngjiǒng xiá) was ranked number five on today’s list of real-time search items. (He’s pictured above helping a woman changer her tire.)

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