You step inside and welcome staff greet you pleasantly with a smile at the door. You are given gentle acknowledgement for your unique presence on this train. You find a seat with a comfortable pillow on it and notice fresh and thought provoking conversation cards hanging from the railings above. Another passenger who is sitting next to you kindly turns and decides to ask you one of the questions; “For what in your life are you most grateful?”. Before you’ve even had time to think about awkwardly moving towards your mobile phone, you’ve been engaged with an authentically interesting question.
You look around the rest of the carriage and notice, everyone else buzzing with excitement as a tourist, businessman and student people play a round of cards and others are using the cup telephone to have a conversation from one side of the carriage to another. You answer the question, and notice a certain depth and authenticity in the listener. This person who would have just been another “nobody” is quickly becoming a “somebody”. Not only is this other person listening, but they are calming you in the presence of their willingness to respectfully engage in thoughtful conversation.
A kind man approaches and asks if both of you would like to share some great new music he’s found from another passenger. You look at each other and agree to bring out your headphones. You plug into his 5 splitter headphone jack, and all start listening in a small circle. This music is some of the most tranquil, loving music you’ve heard in a long time. As your heart strings are being pulled by the symphony of sound you notice the man, shed a small tear of delight. You naturally decide to extend your hands, and the group silently extends their hands in a circle to comfort one another.
The song finishes, and the man mentions that he played the song from his grandmothers final birthday. He said, in her final years she suffered from alzheimer’s and it was this exact song that brought back a visceral memory of her childhood. He remembered the look of remembrance in her eyes while listening again today. The passengers, feel positive emotion flowing through their hands.
You look up and realise you’ve just arrived at your station. You thank everyone for the moment shared and make your way for the exit. You are farewelled by the welcome staff and you leave the train with a glow in your heart.
This is what is possible with the social carriage, and you can see by this video of the experience we created over the weekend just how simple it was to turn the carriage into a meaningful moment of connection.