The day I became a meme

It was the third week of my special assignment in Ghent. And then I freaked out. Ghent is a lovely city, but it is quite far from where I live. I need two train transfers to get from my house to where I work. Two more in the evening. If all goes well, this is quite doable. The problem is that all doesn’t go well. On average twice a day, the delays of the public train transport company NMBS/SNCB cause me to miss my train. This means my commute increases with 1 to 2 hours per day.

The day before yesterday I had to be home to help the kids with the preparation for their last exams. When the second train for that day refused to wait to assure my connection, I freaked out.

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I never expected this single tweet to cause so much reaction. But apparently, my honest reaction struck a nerve with many people. Calmed down after 5 minutes, I kind of saw the humor in this when the creative remixes of my rant started to come in:

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On the other hand: I didn’t feel like being exploited by the media to blame the NMBS/SNCB for everything that is going wrong in the world, so I put my phone on silent. A good move, since I received 11 media enquiries within the next 12 hours. If they don’t have a quote or footage, they can’t write an article or bring a news item. Except for this one tabloid, which even had the guts to involve my employer in a headline on an insert about my strictly personal opinion.


Anyway, the next day I went to work by motorbike. And whilst cruising home on the highway, I started to wonder: What if I can turn this attention into something positive? So, I decided to make a video on what I would recommend the NMBS/SNCB to do. Not that I think that I have any particular wisdom in that field, but because I assume that the new CEO (Sophie Dutordoir) of the NMBS/SNCB will want to change things. And the more pressure from people external to the organisation who want that same change, the more she will be able to convince stakeholders to support her plans.


I don’t know what the plans of Sophie Dutordoir are, but I wish her all the luck in turning the NMBS/SNCB into a great company!

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