“I forgive her for what she’s done, and I ask SJ to allow her to keep her job,” she said about the conductor who decided to force her younger sister off the train.
“I personally know how hard it is to live without a job, and besides, I think she’s learned her lesson. She’ll never do this to anyone again.”
She understands that media reports about 11 year-old Neema have caused an uproar, but along with her other siblings, Grace has experienced things in their homeland Democratic Republic of Congo that are difficult to even speak of.
In comparison, this event feels insignificant, she told the newspaper.
The incident that sparked a public storm against rail giant SJ occurred on a train from Örebro to Gothenburg.
The two girls bought their tickets on the train, from the very conductor who was later to throw 11-year-old Neema off the train.
As children under 15 travel free with an adult, the conductor assured Grace that a ticket for one adult would be sufficient, she explained to the newspaper.
“The conductor that threw my sister off had sold us the ticket herself just a little while before,” she said.
Grace went to the bathroom with the ticket, and in the ten minutes she was absent, the conductor came up to Neema, asked her for a ticket or money, and when she could present neither, kicked her off the train at a train station in Kumla, about 20 kilometres south of Örebro.
After a long night spent worrying about what could’ve happened to her younger sister, Grace finally learned at 8am the following morning that a local woman had taken care of her.
With this relatively happy ending, Grace now wants to move on.
“I don’t want to think anymore about it. I found my sister. She’s my best friend, and it would’ve been a catastrophe if anything had happened to her,” she said to Aftonbladet.
The conductor has been suspended from her work pending SJ’s investigation of events.
Despite the public’s outrage against her, representatives from union SEKO have backed her actions, choosing to blame the unfortunate event on unclear directives from SJ.