It was ultimately a day like any other for the young Philibert, 12 years old. Wednesday, November 30, at 7:58 am, he gets on the train at Ath station, the one that will take him to Brugelette, where his school is. Unfortunately for him, he will not really arrive at his destination.
In the train, as the controller arrives at his height, Philibert realizes that he has forgotten his wallet in which his SNCB season ticket is. “My son is like that, he is airheaded. He always forgets everything,” explains his mother, Dominique Rombaut.
The rest of the story will take a completely bewildering turn. Faced with this situation, the controller simply made the decision to get Philibert out of the train at the next stop. It is therefore in Mévergnies-Attre station, in the middle of nowhere, that the young boy will find himself.
Fortunately for him, he was in possession of his mobile phone and was able to notify his parents. “His dad was able to pick him up and take him to school, but he arrived late for work.”
In any case, the situation raises questions. And his mother does not budge. “What would have happened if he didn’t have his cell phone with him! How could he have come into contact with us, how would he have managed? How can a child be left alone like this! I can not believe it. We are talking about a young person from the first secondary”.
Dominique Rombaut does not particularly want to put the SNCB on trial, which is a fervent defender of public transport. “It is something sacred for us. But after what happened, I must admit that I am quite traumatized thinking about it. I repeat, we left a child alone in the middle of nowhere”.
Not an isolated case
In any case, Philibert’s mother asks herself certain questions. Especially since the young boy is not the only one in this situation. Norah, a 12-year-old girl, experienced a similar story in Ghent two days earlier. “There was a train strike on December 1. Was this a way for the controllers to strike before that date? I’m wondering “.
In the meantime, for Dominique Rombaut, impossible to let this pass. A complaint has been sent to SNCB. “The latter has twenty days to respond,” she explains. “I expect an apology, either from the controller in question or from SNCB. If this is not satisfactory, I will reserve the right to lodge a complaint with the prosecution”.
The case is therefore continuing. SNCB, for its part, assured that a discussion would be initiated with the controller in question.