Today something very tragic happened on the train from Antwerpen to Den Haag (train 1222 from 10:36). The conductor went totally out of line, because he assumed I was an east-European guy without a ticket; so it escalated from verbal violence straight to physical violence and an unlawful arrest by the authorities. This is a rough translation.
Part 1: Yelling to me for my ticket?..
Conductor: Hey, you there, Ticket!
Me: Ok, moment <while taking off my backpack>
Conductor: No! TICKET NOW!!
Me: hey! May I maybe take it?!
Conductor: I saw you moving from behind to the front, your TICKET NOW IMMEDIATELY!!
Me: I was searching a place to sit and am having a phone call, what is going on?!?
Without any excuse for his aggressive style of communication, the conductor looks to my ticket, thanks and just goes further, as if nothing happens. A bit later I’ve asked the same man friendly, why exactly, he was shouting to me like that. I’ve also politely asked “if it was possible to be a bit more polite towards valid customers with a ticket, instead of treating me like a criminal?”
Current stress level: 1-2 (escalating rapidly, stressed!)
Part 2: Insulting and patronizing me?!
Then he started to insult me with “what are you of a looser” and all kinds of other verbal treats like “moron, looser, stupid Belgian” and more, apparently nothing was too crazy for him. I told I’d file a complaint if he would continue on like that. He asked if I was coming from Belgium, while ridiculising me that “Belgians are so good with filing complaints”. I asked for his conductor/employer number or name. He did not want to give me that information. He only answered with the most senseless language possible, ending with one or another insult. He could not give an inch of customer friendliness or courtesy.
I tried explaining his co-worker that I only expect a normal way of communication, without being treated, insulted and yelled at as cattle. When I told to both conductors that I was talking with my lawyer in the meantime it happened, the verbal conductor answered with “oh, that means you are totally not clean on the bone, if you need a lawyer!”
Current stress level: 2-3 (escalating rapidly, trying to cope what is going on?!)
Part 3: Smashing my phone on the ground?!?!?
When I let the above transcript be read to his co-worker, the aggressive conductor smashed my phone out of my hands against the floor. I DEMANDED his name for this continuous provocative behavior. This phone is the only tool, which I got to support me.
His co-worker gave me train number 1222 BXL-DH. Suddenly the conductor didn’t want me to join in his train anymore. Could it be because there was another lady not satisfied about that aggressive conductor, when she yelled at him for his behavior?
Current stress level: 4 (bail out situation, amazed, want to run!)
Part 4: Physical assault? Smashing me?!
I wanted to take a photo of the numbers on the train as evidence, that I was there, but the conductor smashed me against my left shoulder! I pushed him twice away, when he appeared to be aggressive against me again. I also yelled at him that he has no right to treat a customer like that and he has to do normal! I tried to make a personal picture to be able to identify this man and he was again responding very aggressive.
I just needed to know who to file a complaint against.
Giving a person description much later is already very difficult because of prosopagnosia, although I can remember in details (how I wrote it down) that this was a tall, normal build Caucasian male of around 40-50, with grey hair, wearing a blue costume with pin (which damaged my hand while pushing him away) and a blue/red necktie.
Police came in-between. I noticed them immediately that my communication under stress goes not as easy because of autism. I also notified that I had an appointment in Amsterdam at 13:40.
Police told me they would try to get me on that train.
Current stress level: 5 (aggression?! whaa! wanna run! how to remember him?)
Part 5: I am being arrested?!?
Although of my protest, I was apparently suddenly placed under arrest. After I asked that I was really arrested I had the positive answer and had the right for one phone-call. When I told I didn’t know who to call except the lawyer which I was calling at the moment of the verbal abuse, the police asked this was a Belgian lawyer? After I answered “yes”, the police officer told me a Belgian lawyer has no jurisdiction in Holland. There was no further information how to get Dutch legal assistance or any legal attorney was appointed to me. If I wanted to make a second phone-call, I had to ask for permission first.
Current stress level: 5-6 (what the hell is going on?!)
Part 6: Not possible to take care of hand?!?
I requested to take care of my bleeding hand because it was damaged by the conductor’s pin, by pushing him away. I didn’t want to get any infections.
My request got denied that it was not possible, because the jail was that unclean, that the risk of contamination was too high. I had to take care of my wound in one of the other stations, with as advice a public toilet in the station of Rotterdam.
Current stress level: +6 (I need my medicines and medical treatment!)
Part 7: Notifying my mom was interrupted!
I called to my mom to tell her the situation. After about two minutes, the cop told me I had to immediately stop with calling. I told I had my mom at the line. She HAD to call me back later. I asked my mom but she didn’t understood anything anymore from it, most likely because of my huge information stream of data.
Then the cop asked to talk to my mom. She told my mom that there was a witness (which was a lie!) that I was a very aggressive person. There was totally no witness and I immediately demanded to release the camera images as soon as I talked to the police.
Current stress level: +6 (I can’t even talk to my mom to explain!)
Part 8: Arrested unless I accept apologies!
The other cop told me in the meantime that the conductor wants to apologize. I answered the cop with the words “yes, ok, if he means his excuse and knows why he needs to apologize, because else it doesn’t have any meaning”.
The officer told me that the conductor did mean it and if I did not accept the apology, I would stay arrested, because the conductor filed a complaint first against me and he would withdraw the complaint ONLY, if I would accept his apology!
In essence, I needed to forcefully accept the apology of the person who has physically assaulted me, or else, I would as victim at that moment, go to jail! That’s a total upside-down world, while I wanted to file a complaint against him, and let them see the camera images then, so he he will immediately show his true nature upon those images.
To my mom they told I am aggressive, what I do not like, because I am against any form of violence. The officer also told her that my autism was a “softening circumstance” which I find unacceptable, because I did not even wish that aggressive treatment in the first place.
I took some medicine against anxiety, which calms me down and the conductor was put together with me, together with the two officers.
He offered his excuses to me first. I corrected every time the pink-colored details with what happened in reality, but he was softening the reality in that way that he was the most customer-friendly person on the planet. He changed his own words, but I was fair, honest and very consequent with my reactions to his words.
Current stress level: +6 (Incredible, to get my freedom I got to accept apologies!)
Part 9: Oh, that explains it all.. Xenophobia!?
When I asked why he went that aggressive, he motivated his hard approach, because he thought I was a guy originating from eastern-Europe, without a ticket and because I was moving in the railway car to search place. Is such kind of prejudice and judgment an accepted excuse to be verbal and physically aggressive against righteous customers, WITH a ticket?!
Part 10: Bring back the peace, or be jailed?!
Because I am rather in peace than in war, I just accepted his apology. Mainly also because I didn’t want to spend my night in jail for some aggressive xenophobic nitwit, which doesn’t take his job seriously on an international train, refusing to be courteous to his customer. But for the most important, because I needed to take my daily medicine on time to survive, which I was denied before!
Part 11: No filing…
There was the explicit notice from the officers, nothing would be put on paper, the conductor and me shake hands and I was free to go. I was too late in Amsterdam, which rendered the appointment as useless and I had made the ride for nothing.
It just felt not right because of the source and nature of the violence.
Current stress level: 5 (I finally can treat my hand and take my medicine!)
Part 12: The aftermath..
I have filed a complaint to the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), because such kind of mentality does not belong on public transport without a minimal acceptable form of communication.
- My earphones, cover and cellphone are broken;
- My shoulder is hurting and visibly blue
- I had so many costs for nothing (train ticket, calls, …)
Till now, the communication is not going all too well, because customer support tries to minimize the situation. Also, I do not dare to use the train anymore when alone, because I am really anxious to see that person again.
I feel treated bad, physically assaulted and violated in my rights while I clearly noticed the officers that I got autism. My trust has been tarnished.
Current stress level: 4 (I feel violated in my rights, to undergo this without justice)
Part 13: Police complaint
In December 2014, I tried to file a complaint at the railway police in Amsterdam. They said I needed to withdraw my complaint at the NS, before police wanted to note the complaint, to secure the video images. This is too crazy, that company business are prior to justice!
They just want to avoid of too many details to come out to the public?
The damage is enormous, a total of more than 1000€ of immediate caused damages on my iPhone, while another 450€ was wasted of indirect damage, because my iPad was not replaced within the warranty terms!
I paid a ticket to-and-back for 33,40€ and get next to my late arrival a blue shoulder and extra costs.
Current stress level: 4 (I feel violated in my rights, to undergo this without justice)
Part 14: Further Details?
The official complaint to the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) can be found here.