Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2015: Brian Cole, Cheerfulness Spreader

South West Trains Customer Service Advisor Brian is adored by commuters at Twickenham Station

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Thousands of Londoners rushing to work at a 7am on a grey, damp Monday morning doesn’t exactly scream happiness. But there is one man at Twickenham railway station who is determined to make people’s start to the day as pleasant as he can.

Brian Cole works for South West Trains as Customer Service Advisor on the gateline Twickenham Station. In spite of line failures, station closures and aggravated customers, he remains committed to his happy-making mission.

He says: “It doesn’t cost anything to smile, be cheerful, and welcome people. I’m that first port of call in the morning, and I honestly believe that it gives them a good start to the day.”


A self-proclaimed 'early morning person', Brian works the weekday 6am shift at Twickenham Station. Many of the customers he serves every day felt inspired to nominate him for this year’s Independent on Sunday Happy List.

One person who nominated Brian said: “Every day, come rain or shine, he greets everyone with a smile, joke and cheery wave. He brightens up even the most horrible Monday morning.”

Another added:  “Brian’s good cheer rubs off on everyone; the hordes of sixth form teenagers arriving for college are not surly with Brian because he is respectful and friendly to them.”

Every September Brian visits local colleges to advise students about what tickets to buy for the best routes and to help them save money.

So what is the secret to Brian’s enduring happiness?

He says: “Life is far too short too be moody. There are times when you feel down, but you have to pick yourself up. I’ve had two heart attacks, so life is good. In life the better outweighs the bad, I really believe that.

“I’m absolutely blown away to be on the Happy List. I just see being cheerful as part of my job, and I’m happiest when I’m working. I love the people who come through the station on a regular basis, I’m on first name terms with too many to mention. And if I can help make their day that little bit happier, then that makes me happy.”