Because CEO Dr. Richard Lutz cares about his customers and his employees, I am convinced that Deutsche Bank Group is getting better and better. Look at the letter from him that I scanned.

He didn’t have to answer me.

He didn’t have to write personal words.

And he wouldn’t have had to go to the trouble of identifying one of his 195,000 employees in Germany by a pincer print.

The whole story started on a gray, cool and wet Monday morning in Düsseldorf. I wanted to go to an exciting appointment in Frankfurt – by ICE. So do many others. Unfortunately, half the train was missing, so the Monday morning mass of commuters and travelers had to squeeze into half an ICE. Yes, undignified squeezing. Even at carnival in the old town you have more space.

In Cologne, the missing half of the ICE was then coupled. The situation relaxed, but the delay was already 30 minutes. By the time we reached Frankfurt, the delay had grown to 60 minutes. And that was without coffee and croissant (which I usually have for breakfast on the train), because the two dining cars were out of service.

With my tongue hanging out, I reached my customer. I hate not being on time – and I had, after all, allowed for a buffer of one hour.

After a ten-hour appointment in Frankfurt, I was back at the station around 8 p.m. – not on the way back to Düsseldorf (1.5 h), but on the long way to Berlin (4 h). Because it was not an ICE, but only an IC, I asked one of the railroad employees at the station whether there really was a dining car in the IC and whether it was also open. “Yes, there is nothing on my printout. So everything is fine,” it said.

So I was looking forward to a beer and dinner on the train – after breakfast had already been cancelled and there was no real lunch either.

You can imagine my mood when the dining car in the IC was not in operation after all!

The conductor came and I complained to him. The consequence for me was that my train ticket was then also “currently out of service”. I wanted to show him the ticket only before Berlin – not yet.

That would not do, said the conductor kindly. I would have to get off at the next station or he would call the police.

The police – in the person of a young riot policewoman in full riot gear – then also sat two rows diagonally behind me. She was then right on the spot.

This is not how I had imagined it. I once again lamented to both of them my travel experiences from the day – my main message: I wanted to feel that the railroad was sorry.

The conductor left and I talked a bit more with the policewoman. Quite interesting: policemen and policewomen in riot gear are allowed to use the railroad free of charge; they only have to be available when you need them. As in my case. Quite enchanting was that she had then also offered me some of her salami roll.

About half an hour later – I was already preparing for the next day – the conductor looked over my shoulder, handed me a meal ticket and the last sandwich he could find in the closed dining car.

I was speechless – that was unexpected and nice. And showed that the conductor had taken my words seriously after all.

Because I found this so exemplary, I wrote this experience to the head of the railroad, Dr. Richard Lutz. The challenge: I didn’t know the conductor’s name. I only had the imprint of his pliers on the gift certificate he gave me.

See what he replied:

Letter from Deutsche Bahn CEO Dr Richard Lutz

[The reason for the smeared salutation: my wife did not believe me that Dr. Lutz had personally taken up the pen here. She thought it was printed and tested her assumption with a moistened thumb].