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Save Sam: Midi station zebra-horse to be removed by Prêt à Manger
British sandwich chain Prêt à Manger's arrival in Brussels has claimed a casualty - a plastic horse dressed up as a zebra in Brussels Midi station, called Sam.
Regular users of the Eurostar and Thalys terminals at Midi station will be familiar with Sam, who has watched over customers at a cafe bearing his name on the station concourse.
"Every train journey I’ve taken from Midi in over a decade has started with meeting next to Sam for a coffee/beer," Rebecca Shorrock said on Twitter. "Please keep him."
Sam's cafe is making way for Prêt à Manger - one of the chain's first Brussels outlets, alongside Central Station.
Despite earlier reassurances to the contrary, it appears Sam will be removed in May, with Financial Times Brussels reporter Jim Brunsden breaking the bad news on Twitter this week.
Méabh Maguire described Sam as "a national treasure - or at least a very helpful landmark". She wrote: "Brussels folk love Sam the zebra-horse. He's weird and wonderful just like this city. Don't get rid of him."
Venetia Spencer added: "Please don’t retire Sam. He’s been making me smile and buy a coffee ever since I first got off a Eurostar to live here in Brussels - 14 years and counting."
Sam has even played an important match-making role. Simon O'Connor wrote: "When Marta came to visit me in Brussels after not seeing each other for 12 years, we met by Sam, the horse disguised as a zebra. Sam brought us luck: we got married 10 months later."
Pret à Manager confirmed: "The reports are true. We're working with our partners in Brussels to make sure he's rehomed somewhere safe."
The sandwich brand, which has 530 points of sale in nine countries, will launch in Brussels as a franchise operated by SSP, which has about 40 outlets in the country under the Panos, Coffee Club and Deliway brands.
Photo: Sam Morgan/Twitter