Most people have experienced some kind of meaningful connection with a stranger – and this railway company is ensuring that all of their passengers can try and get a second chance with those missed conversations.
Dutch Railways has been running a publication that broadcasts their passengers’ missed connections in the hopes that they will be able to facilitate meet-ups between these special strangers.
The Hartkloppingen page – or “Heatbeats” in English – was originally published in the organization’s free onboard magazine. In 2008, they moved the section to a Tumbler account.
The page reads: “Every day, more than 1 million people travel by train. And then it can happen that you have a very nice conversation with a fellow traveler. Or not, and then you are out of luck afterwards. Do not worry, because here you can leave a message for that nice travel companion. And who knows, [maybe] you will travel together next time!”
Some of the posts are pretty playful – like this one that was translated by NPR:
“We sat on a balcony in the train from Amersfoort to Utrecht. I had fries with peanut sauce — afraid it would stink up the whole train. You had a mullet, just came from a singing bowls concert. I think you’re pretty. Thought it was way too short, the time we chatted. Want to catch up?”
Other broadcasts, such as this one from a 22-year-old male passenger, have a more wistful tone:
“On Saturday evening … I was on my way to Hilversum in the Intercity. You [were] already waiting outside the coupe, while I was just walking around with my bags. The sliding door slipped right in front of my nose, which you also noticed. You laughed at me, and I laughed back. Then we looked at each other in a shy way and smiled through the glass of the sliding door, before the reality returned and we both had to leave. Did we have a moment, or did I see that wrong?”
While the railway company may not have exact metrics concerning the page’s success, they told NPR that roughly 4,000 relationships blossom into fruition on their trains every year – and with the help of Heartbeats, they hope that there will be even more during the coming year.
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