Virgin Trains welcome host Aaron Koduah, 38, brightens up passenger journeys with his own motivational messages on boards at Crewe station.
Describe a typical day at work
Providing a friendly face to welcome and assist people on their travels.
What’s your favourite/least favourite part of the job?
Favourite part is meeting new people and just generally helping people. Least favourite part is the late finishes.
You’ve worked at Crewe for the past four years. Do you know any little-known facts about the station?
The station has underground tunnels which are haunted. Myself and a colleague have taken random pictures of the underground tunnels of which the pictures displayed some ghostly images!
How did you get into the rail industry?
I applied to work for Virgin Trains after I completed my graduate degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Tell me about your time in the armed forces, where did you serve and what did you do?
I was a supply specialist in the Royal Logistics Corp, British Army. In seven years’ service I went on operational tours of Afghanistan and duty tours around Europe.
Where does your love for inspirational quotes come from?
I’ve always had a love for a good quote and would often search online for motivational quotes to help me get through some dark times in my life. I then began writing down my own quotes of which I shared with friends and family on social media. I was really chuffed when I began receiving positive feedback and felt proud that my own words were now helping others through their bad times. I then began sharing both my own quotes and those of other famous and influential celebrities daily at the station on the information board – now renamed the ‘thought of the day’ board. The reactions from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.
Do you remember the first time you wrote a quote on a welcome board?
I can’t actually remember what I wrote the very first time as it has been four years now, but I do remember feeling nervous about it and thinking ‘Will anyone actually read them?’ But now I even get celebrities tweeting my thoughts of the day, including Olympic cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand and Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha from the Chase.
I enjoy motivating people and making people smile and appreciate life. I posted quotes frequently on social media and they were well received so I wanted to expand my reach and connect with more people. Everyone can appreciate a little motivation sometimes.
You write a lot of the messages yourself, where do you get the ideas from?
I think about ways in which I could help uplift others who are currently struggling with life challenges and as I myself know how difficult life can be sometimes, I think about life and write my quotes from memory.
And what led you to collect 500 to put into a book?
Customers regularly take pictures of my quotes that I write daily on the thought of the day board at the station. Many approached me expressing how beneficial my quotes have been for them. The idea for the book came from customers who would regularly ask me where I would get my ideas from and if I could compile them for future reference.
How has the book been received?
I have received numerous positive feedback from both our customers and the general public. Many have approached me and thanked me for the book as it has been helping them deal with life challenges. I have sold over 300 copies so far.
Is there a particular inspirational quote that keeps you motivated at the moment?
One of my self-penned quotes: When everything is going wrong and you feel like given up, always remember that there is someone going through worse and who would willingly rather walk in your shoes.
Who inspires you?
My mother has always been my source of inspiration and she was always so positive and mentally strong throughout her life until her passing in 2010.
What’s your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest moment was the day I was having my book signing at Crewe station in November last year. So many people purchased my book and asked for selfies.
I am currently working on my second book which I am hoping to release soon.
Where can people pickup a copy of the book?
Developing A Strong Mindset can be purchased on my website, www.aaronkoduahuk.com