Berlin state parliament representative Gunnar Lindemann quite enjoys tweeting about his journeys on the capital city’s public transit system, run by company BVG. And whenever he posts a picture of his ride, or thanks the company’s workers, Lindemann makes sure to tag BVG’s Twitter account, which has become known for its snarky commentary.
At the height of this past winter, for example, BVG posted a picture of their rail lines covered in snow with the caption: “Still eight days until Fashion Week and already there’s white powder everywhere.”
But BVG took their irreverent humour to another level when they started responding to Lindemann, whose party has gained popularity through its anti-immigrant rhetoric amid discontent with Germany's intake of more than one million refugees in recent years.
Each time Lindemann thanks the company and its workers for bringing him safely to his destination, BVG responds by telling him the driver on his trip was named “Dschamal” or “by the way, Hakan” - implying quite strongly with the use of non-German names that he should be thanking immigrants for their work.
After Lindemann tweeted that he was on his way to the parliament building, BVG tweeted back “kind regards from Tarek, the driver”.
@AfDLindemann Gern geschehen. Viele Grüße von Tarek, dem Fahrer.— Weil wir dich lieben (@BVG_Kampagne) February 16, 2017
Lindemann responded back, saying “my regards to my driver Tarek”. But BVG wrote back again, saying Tarek had to correct him on his German grammar: Lindemann had used the dative case when he should have used the accusative.
“Tarek says it should be ‘meinen’,” BVG wrote.
@AfDLindemann Tarek sagt, es müsste „meinen“ heißen.— Weil wir dich lieben (@BVG_Kampagne) February 16, 2017
It seems though by now the Lindemann has caught on to the joke. On Monday he tweeted an article written by Bild about his exchange with BVG, and noted that “yesterday I went for a beer with Tarek” after his party made it into the Saarland state parliament.
Another BVG Twitter account told Lindemann that Tarek did not drink beer. But Lindemann insisted: "The beer tasted very good to Tarek. He is after all an AfD member."
And when BVG again told him that “Manni… a nickname for Osman” had been his driver on Monday, Lindemann replied that he would “gladly ride with him”.