Ms Samantha Bek, 36-year-old mum of three shared with us that she had been seeing a string of complaints on train operator SMRT’s Facebook page, and simply wanted to “brighten up someone’s day” by sharing her lovely experience.
And she did just that.
In her post on 28 April, which has since garnered over 45,000 likes and 6,000 shares, Ms Bek shared how her 4-year-old son Jovan had gotten chummy with MRT staff Uncle Zainodin at Bishan MRT station.
Ms Bek told us, “We take the train to Jovan’s school every morning, and it started off with my son seeing Mr Zainodin carrying a baton, to which he candidly asked me, ‘Is that a lightsaber?’. Star Wars Uncle (as we lovingly call him) overheard that cute remark and came over to strike up a conversation with us. And that was the beginning of a pure friendship. This happened a few months back.”
“It was refreshing to see other commuters add on to my Facebook post with more compliments pouring in for Mr Zainodin.” The SMRT has faced intense scrutiny for its train breakdowns in recent times including a 4-line failure on 25 April 2016.
Jovan always looked forward to meeting Mr Zainodin on the platform and he started buying snacks for him once in awhile. On Friday, when the post went viral, Ms Bek wanted to thank him personally for being such a warm and sweet person, and had gotten a box of chocolates for him. But the mother-son duo did not see him on the platform that morning. Disappointed, they left the gift for him at the control station. Upon returning to the platform, Jovan spotted Star Wars Uncle and excitedly ran up to him and hugged him.
Above:”MRT Uncle” Zainodin Bin Abdul Hadi, 65, Service Ambassador at Bishan MRT station with Jovan, 4
“Despite his age, he would still squat down and meet my son in warm embrace. Jovan would spend a few moments with him, showing him his book or toy, and they would chit chat till the train arrived,” shared Ms Bek who works for parenting app theAsianparent Community and calls herself the ‘Town Magician’. “I believe in creating magic in my job, working closely with the team to create this new app we’ve created for parents.”
“I also want to teach my son that unsung heroes can be really just anyone around us. They don’t have to only be doctors or pilots or in any other stereo-typical form. Mr Zainodin went out of his way to make my son feel comfortable and loved- he didn’t have to do that, but he did. He is our unsung hero! Jovan definitely has something to wake up to every weekday morning!” Ms Bek candidly shares.
This is indeed a beautiful story on warmth and friendliness. These are moments that we humans understand as just simple- seeing no age gaps, no judgement, no race, no barriers. It’s just pure… these two meeting on a train platform without a care in the world… all they saw was each other.
Others have also joined in to share similar anecdotes of friendly train staff in Ms Bek’s Facebook post.
Have you had a good experience with an SMRT staff? Share with us- we would love to hear from you.