Some of the things I admire most about people who work for Virgin are that they use their initiative, they are always thinking of our customers – and they love having fun. When I met Darren Jones from Virgin Trains West Coast recently, he shared a story that really brought these values home.
Darren is a train manager, who is based in Euston and travels on board trains going to Manchester, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Preston, Chester and Crewe. He is brilliant at building great rapport with passengers, and wanted to do something extra that would bring a smile to people’s faces on their journeys. He was also going through a tough time after suffering a family bereavement, and wanted to do something positive.
So back in 2015 he decided to start a quiz on board the trains. It started small, asking a few questions over the address system and giving out meal deal vouchers to the winner. But it quickly gained legendary status on the routes, and soon Darren’s back bedroom became a production line for prizes, with special medals and bags included for winners.
While he can’t do it every day, with a busy role to carry out, when he gets the time Darren can be seen quizzing the passengers – who include regulars as well as surprised newcomers – with a mix of general knowledge and personalised teasers. The first person to come to the shop with the correct answers gets the glory, and Darren has now crowned well over 500 winners.
You can see a few of the happy people who have won Darren’s quiz in this blog. I love the simplicity of the idea, and the way our team empowers individuals to see opportunities and bring them to life. It’s the kind of thing that only happens at companies like Virgin. I hope I can join in a quiz myself one of these days!