Choi Dae-ho, a Korean taekwondo instructor, found himself at the center of an online buzz in Singapore, where he was holidaying, after a kind-hearted gesture he made hit the media.
On February 2, 2013, the 22-year-old was taking a bus in Singapore when he saw an old lady travelling barefoot. In an impromptu gesture, he knelt in front of her and gave her the flip-flops he was wearing.
The old lady resisted, but then, teary eyed, accepted the gift. A fellow member of the Taekwondo Peace Corps photographed Choi kneeling in front of the lady and posted the picture online. From there the picture went viral, and Singaporeans posted questions online, won- dering who the kind-hearted young man was, and why he had done what he did.
Choi was tracked down by local media and though he expressed surprise at the attention, granted interviews.
"It was a small gesture on my part, but it was something I felt I should do," the Incheon native, a student of Jeonju University, said.
He explained that he had always felt close to his grandmother, but she had passed away when he was 15. Since then, he had always had an affinity for women of his late grandmother's age.
Choi credited his taekwondo training for his manners.
"I have learned taekwondo since I was five and met many good mas- ters and seniors," he said in interviews. "I have learned a lot from them on how to be a good person. Learning taekwondo helps develop not only the body, but also the character."
The young athlete also got a bit of exercise out of the event, when, having given away his shoes, he had to return to his hotel barefoot.
"The pavements were scorching," he told local media, "So I sprinted the eight minutes back to my hotel!"