Big-Hearted Rail Employees for passengers in difficulties

Abellio wins gold, DB silver and bronze / competition now in its sixth year

Kevin Hauseder from Munich, Lena-Sophia Nobbe from Hagen andFatih Yilmazil from Freudenstadt are this year’s winners.

Berlin/Hagen/Freudenstadt/Munich, April 27 2016. The jury has spoken, the three winners have been announced: a train attendant, a train driver and a travel centre employee are the winners of the Big Hearted Rail Employee 2016. For the first time, the jury has also chosen eight regional winners.

First class commitment against racism

Gold went to the Abellio train attendant Lena-Sophia Nobbe (46). The rail employee of Turkish origin put a passenger who did not want to sit next to “dark-skinned foreigners” firmly in his place in a “most exemplary manner”. After the man refused to cease with his torrent of racial abuse, the Abellio train attendant took the frightened Syrian family out of the firing line by reseating them in first class. “Gold for a rail employee who showed spirit in defusing a difficult situation without aggravating the passenger. Lena-Sophia Nobbe is committed to ensuring that everyone finds a good seat on our trains,” praised the jury, which is chaired by the German Pro-Rail Alliance.

Black Forest Knight

Silver went to DB Regio train driver Fatih Yilmazil (25) from Freudenstadt. When a passenger from Algeria who was under the influence of drugs began to sexually harass female passengers on the train, the driver left his cabin and led the women to safety. He coordinated the man’s arrest and made sure that the situation did not escalate. The jury members were persuaded: “The women did not need to press the emergency button, and the train driver managed to keep the situation on his train under control at all times. Since the attacks in Cologne on new year’s eve, such an intervention cannot be taken for granted.”

Youngest Big-Hearted Rail Employee

Bronze was awarded to trainee travel centre employee Kevin Hauseder (21) from Munich, who skilfully made a series of phone calls to help reunite two lovers who had become separated on a return journey from Italy, instead of fobbing them off with an official “it’s your own fault” comment. “Bronze for providing a service that would be a credit to a veteran sales employee,” was the jury’s verdict on the youngest ‘Big-Hearted Rail Employee’ in the history of the competition.

Jury chooses eight regional winners

For the first time, the jury is also honouring regional winners, with eight rail employees showing outstanding commitment to their customers in their local states. In Baden-Württemberg, the award went to Maria Verna from DB Regio, and in Bavaria the title went to the BOB train driver Markus Schmidt. Both awards were for helping refugees on their difficult journeys across Germany. The ICE train attendant Enrico Gottwald (Berlin) and the ICE train manager Anne Feilke (Hamburg) won over the jury, as did station employee Gero Müller (Leer in Lower Saxony), who saved a woman in a wheel chair from a rainy night. The NordWestBahn train driver Werner van de Loo (North Rhine-Westphalia) caught a pickpocket red handed and HEX employee Lars Jaeger retrieved a lost mobile phone that had fallen behind a cover panel. The HLB train attendant Siegbert Giese (Hesse) can be reached by at any time on his mobile by commuters with time-table problems.

The competition ‘Big-Hearted Rail Employee’ has now been running for six years in a row, with the number of nominations received since it started reaching over 1,200. Travellers’ tales for the next round of the competition can now be sent to the Pro-Rail Alliance:


Video: Big-Hearted Rail Employee – the 2016 winners (German, 8:02 mins)


Additional information (German)