Reconnecting Strangers On A Train, One Tumblr Post At A Time
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
There are times when we can connect surprisingly deeply with a stranger and then never see them again - a missed connection. We've been trying to help some of you connect with people you've been trying to find. Turns out we're not the only ones doing that.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Through interpreter) Every day, I get on Zwolle, and you get on in the city of Ladenstat. And every day, we look at each other. And when you get off the train at Amsterdam South, sometimes, you'll say something very softly, like a greeting. Should we maybe have a conversation with each other some time?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: This message is one of hundreds found on a Tumblr operated by Dutch Railways.
GERJAN VASSE: My name is Gerjan Vasse, and I work for the Dutch Railways. And there, I work for the department of communications. We saw in the research that one-third of our travelers flirt quite frequent. So why won't we just facilitate this?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So because of all the flirts, they created a program called...
VASSE: Hartkloppingen. In English, it's called Heartbeats.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's been around since the 1990s. Back then, the messages were printed on free train magazines. They were extremely popular. In 2008, they moved Heartbeats online - missed connection posts from over 2000 miles of railways.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Through interpreter) We sat on the balcony of a train from Amafurt to Eutrich. I had fries with peanut sauce, afraid that it would stink up the whole train. You had a mullet, just came from a singing bowls concert. I think you're pretty. I thought it was way too short, the time we chatted. Want to catch up?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fries with peanut sauce. Hmm. Rail spokesman Vasse says the message board is the extent, though, that they'll play Cupid.
VASSE: We are not a dating site. The connecting part - people really got to do that themselves.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: With or without their help, Vasse says, about 4,000 relationships a year start on the Dutch Railway. Last year, they hosted three marriage ceremonies with the hope for more in 2018.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEARTBEAT")
BUDDY HOLLY: (Singing) Heartbeat - why do you miss when my baby kisses me? Heartbeat - why does a...
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