A Pakistani man, Mubashar Zahoor Ellahi, from Sialkot works as an abra commuting boat skipper for eight years carrying residents and tourists, who cross the Dubai Creek from Old Souq to Baniyas and back.
The 25-year-old name in Arabic means “bringer of flad tidings or good news”.
On Monday morning, a ‘very special passenger’ came across by the name of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al- Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, boarded Ellahi’s abra
Sheikh Hamdan decided to go live on social media who has more than six million followers on Instagram, wishing him ‘good tidings’ and called him the ‘best captain’.
“I’m still in complete awe,” Ellahi said, “I could not believe I had a royalty as a passenger and it was like a dream come true for me to come face to face with the Dubai Crown Prince.”
“I was surprised and elated but during the few minutes I was ferrying Sheikh Hamdan and his company on my boat, never did I feel uneasy because Sheikh Hamdan did not make me feel that he is my prince but appeared like an old-time friend,” Ellahi added.
A video was posted which was liked around 65,000 times and gained about 2,000 comments; Sheikh Hamdan was seen telling his friends to fix his agal before going in front of the boat to talk to the Ellahi.
Sheikh Hamdan called Mubashar by asking his name and told him that they are going live on Instagram Dubai’s crown prince told Mubashar: “May God always give you good tidings.”
After getting a notification that the royal family will ride the abra, Mubashar’s supervisor and compatriot, Mansoor Ahmed prepared two abras for them.
“We actually prepared two boats: one is enclosed with AC inside and the open-air abra,” Mansoor said.
“We did not know that it was Sheikh Hamdan. He could have chosen the abra with AC but he preferred the open-air abra that was skippered by Mubashar.”
Mubashar said: “In my eight years as an abra captain, today [Monday] is the happiest day in my life. This story is something I will be proud to share with my family back home – I’m sure my parents will be very proud of me. And this is a nice tale I will tell my future kids.”
“It was such a big honour when Sheikh Hamdan came to me and patted my back. It was a reassurance and a reward that, as an expat, I’m doing a good job,” he added.
“Now I’m more than inspired to do my job – after all, abra captains like me are not just ferrying passengers, we also showcase Dubai to tourists,” Mubashar said.
Now that he had a very memorable encounter with the Dubai Crown Prince, what ‘good news’ can we hear of him in the future?
“With hard work, maybe someday I will be a captain of a bigger ship,” Mubashar replied.”
This article originally appeared on Khaleej Times.