Mega corporations are often viewed as evil establishments out to squeeze every ounce of energy from its employees and every single cent from consumers, but that does not mean humanity does not exist in some of them. The case of the defunct train station in Hokkaido, Japan, is one brilliant example of hope. The story goes that Kami-Shirataki train station located at the northernmost island of Hokkaido was to be shut down due to declining ridership in this remote location and the ending of the freight service in and out of the area does not help either.
As they were about to pull the plug on the station, Japan Railways noticed there’s one faithful user: a high school girl who takes the train to school on every school day. Now, I am sure there are alternatives, but for some reason this little girl chose to commute via the good’ol train. Instead of serving a notice to inform this faithful customer of the station impending fate like many money-centric mega corps would do, the operator decided to keep Kami-Shirataki train station operating until the girl graduates.
The train operator even went to length to adjust the train’s timetable to suit the girl’s schedule. Thus, the train only make the stop there twice a day – once to pick up the girl and again, to drop her when school’s over. I can’t help but to think the discipline required on the girl’s part to make this work. Any lateness, she would have miss the one and only train out of Engaru, or worst, if she misses the train coming back.
Anyways, what Japan Railways did was admirable and to think that this has been going on for three years now is even more amazing. The cost incur during all those years would have drive any pin-striped suit corporate manager up the wall, but not JR. Not at all. Human relationship and in this particular case, the girl’s education takes is the utmost priority. However, the station will finally be done this March, when the unnamed girl graduates.