SMRT, Citi and Singapore – way to go

Two unbelievable things happened today and both are of great importance and highlight the need for data integrity and personal professionalism.

As has been my practice when I board the East West MRT train, I took out my Kindle from my trouser pocket and began to read. Today it was Biswanath Gosh’s ‘Tamarind City’. The book was so interesting that I didn’t notice that my wallet had fallen down from my pocket. The wallet contained a Citibank Credit Card, Ez-Link Transport Card and, most importantly, the National ID card.

I changed trains at Tanah Mera MRT and got down at Expo. When I had to exit, I found the wallet missing. Sensing a chill down my spine, I approached the counter and explained my situation. The clerk took down my details and promised to get back, if anything was found.

All plans of going to Bintan, Indonesia this week-end collapsed in front of my eyes. I visualized the sad face of the wife and children when they would hear the news, for without the National ID, I would not be able to enter Singapore.

I tried calling the police to lodge a complaint regarding my National ID card when I got another call. The speaker said,’ Sir, I am calling from Citibank Tampines Branch. SMRT has found your wallet with your credit card and ID. Could you come over to the Tampines Branch MRT Control Room?’

I retraced my journey to Tanah Mera station, boarded the East West Line to Pasir Ris and got down at Tampines.

I approached the SMRT control room when the friendly staff, soon after seeing me, checked my credentials and handed over the wallet with all its contents intact.

What had happened was this: A passenger had handed over the wallet to SMRT. The staff Ms.Tamilarasi had tried to get my number from the wallet but couldn’t find my calling card. She found the Citibank Credit card, approached the bank’s branch in the MRT station and asked the bank staff to call me and inform about my wallet. The bank staff had located my mobile number from the integrated customer system based on my card number, called me and then I had my wallet..

Four things that worked together and hence stand out in this episode :

1. The unknown passenger who handed over to the wallet to the SMRT staff. But for his integrity, I couldn’t have got me items.

2. The professionalism of the SMRT staff Ms.Tamilarasi. She had gone outside of her call of duty and tried to reach me through the bank while, as per procedure, she would have just waited for the normal complaint redress mechanism to click in. But she didn’t wait.The extreme to which she went to reach out to an unknown customer speaks volumes about the professionalism of the lady and the training provided by SMRT. Kudos to both.

3. The integrity of data in Citibank. When Ms.Tamilarasi approached the bank with her official insignia on, the bank staff was able to locate my mobile number and call me to inform. This has been made possible just because of the integrated nature of the bank’s data. Most importantly, the data was upto date.

4. Singapore – The integrated nature of the country and the sense of integrity that she has built into her people, and the efficient systems that work. This doesn’t stop with SMRT. It is all across the nation – bus service, immigration, power supply, water, internal security et al. The nation is actually a well managed company whose business is welfare and wealth creation for its citizens. Kudos.

Another thing that stands out :

Even if a book is damn interesting, one needs to be mindful of the surroundings.

What next :

I am planning to gift a copy of my book ‘Pazhaiya Kanakku’ to Ms.Tamilarasi and request her to receive the first copy of my next English book ‘The Diary of a foreigner’ in which this story would be made available.

P.S.: Citi is my employer. This is not a promotional, but a genuine incident that happened to me..

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4 thoughts on “SMRT, Citi and Singapore – way to go

  1. Of all the good things, one bad thing happened. You mentioned it last-one needs to be mindful of the surroundings.
    Have you confirmed with Ms.Thamizharasi whether she can read Tamil.? Because, if first generation migrate and settle overseas, then next generation usually talks Tamil but unable to read.
    We got an interesting & warning story.

    Like

  2. Interesting incident flagging a caution though. I expect SMRT staff to act in the way you say it unfolded.
    Professionalism and integrity of Singapore’s organisations is what gives the country its name(I have had a number personal experiences to second the same). But the unknown passenger is who made your day. But for him, you would not have got your wallet in time.

    Like

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