Ben Olsen adds special touches to his announcements to help people with the daily commute. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Meet Ben Olsen, the train guard who adds his own positive spin to the mundane daily commute.
Each day Mr Olsen makes the announcements on Queensland Rail trains coming in and out of Brisbane’s CBD.
But rather than using the standard station message, he chooses to make people’s commute more enjoyable by adding observations and puns to his calls.
From birthday announcements to tips on local destinations, he tries to “leave people with a smile on their face”.
“It’s very spontaneous,” he said.
“If we’re going home in the afternoon, I might see a sunset on the left-hand side.
“You mightn’t take much notice but I point it out and say, ‘look at the beautiful sunset we’ve put on for your arrival home’ … it’s really that easy.”
He said commuters enjoyed the human touch.
“I think it makes a big difference and it shows that the train is manned by humans.
“If I walk through the train and speak to someone on the carriage I’ll try and find out something about them.
“If it’s their birthday, for instance, when they get off at their station I wish them a happy birthday and a welcome home.”
As well as announcing stops Ben checks that passengers are safely on the train. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Even millennials with their noses in a smartphone have reacted to his calls.
“A young chap spoke to me yesterday and told me my voiceover was brilliant,” Mr Olsen said.
“He said it changed his day, and that was fantastic; that’s why I do it.”
Compliments aplenty from commuters
Daily, Mr Olsen said he was thanked by the commuters coming on and off the train.
“When I stand at the door passengers always come past and comment.
Each station stop allows Ben to add local information or a joke to start the day. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“When it happens I know I’ve nailed it as it’s that personal contact … that thank you.
“I love knowing I’ve had that influence over their day and that I’ve made them feel better.
“I don’t do it at every station though as that would send people crazy.”