#OmanPride: Work is worship for Intercontinental Hotel’s oldest employee in Oman

More sports Tuesday 24/January/2017 21:42 PM
By: Times News Service
#OmanPride: Work is worship for Intercontinental Hotel’s oldest employee in Oman

MUSCAT: Habib Mohammed Al Thani begins his shift at the Intercontinental Hotel in Qurum at 7am. Although he calls it a day officially at 3pm, it’s common to see the doorman manning his post outside the hotel’s entrance until 4 o’clock every evening, at times even until 5 o’clock.
This March, Habib will turn 75, and is, at present, Intercontinental Hotel’s longest serving employee.
‘Uncle Habib,’ as he is fondly referred to by all those who work at Intercontinental, joined the hotel as a coffee man in 1981, four years after it opened.
“In 1981, the hotel was surrounded by sand and there were no roads connecting it to the city,” said Habib’s interpreter, the hotel’s HR Manager, Yousuf Al Rahbi. “But since the very first day, Habib was always here on time.”
It is this work ethic that has endeared him to everyone at the hotel. “Right from 1981 and until now, no one has ever had any complaints about Habib because he is the best at what he does,” he added. “He has seven children at home, but knows how important it is to dedicate himself to his work.”
Habib’s dedication and perseverance that he displays in carrying out his duties are values that the current generation must adhere to as well.
“He is here at least an hour or half an hour before his shift starts,” said Al Rahbi.
“To be ready on time every day to avoid any eventuality that can make you late is a routine comes out of a sense of strong commitment. He has been following this ethos since 1981, and this is an example that people must follow.”
When Habib was a coffee man, he would often turn up for his evening shift at 3pm, in order to begin preparations to serve the evening crowd their coffee, and leave not before 11pm. There were also times when he had to stay until four or five in the morning, making coffee for visitors in a tent that had been specially set up for him, but Habib never complained because he loved doing what he did.
“For me, this is my second home,” said Habib, communicating through Al Rahbi.
“Some people don’t like their jobs, but you must not think of your work as a burden, but as a gift that has been given to you by God. You must love what you do, and believe in what you do. “If you do this with commitment, you will reap the benefits.”
Love and respect
“His advice is that if you give love and respect to your job, that is what you get in return,” added Al Rahbi. “Even today, if I tell him to go home early and take rest, he doesn’t like it. If you offer him a chair to sit, he won’t take it because he wants to be treated just as everybody else.
“Intercontinental was the first five-star hotel in Oman, so a lot of government functions used to be held here,” he said.
“Habib was always available to serve the ministers and their guests, and even today, if they come to our hotel and they see him here 20 years later, they greet him with a hug.”
With the Intercontinental hotel celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Uncle Habib’s presence has made this milestone all the more special.
“We celebrate 40 years since Intercontinental Hotel first opened in Oman this year, and to have Uncle Habib as part of this celebration makes it very special for all of us,” revealed Al Rahbi. “Last year, we awarded him the Star of the Year Award at the hotel, and he was also nominated at the Hotelier Middle East awards in Dubai.
“Uncle Habib is our icon. When anyone, from the lowest level employee to someone in the top management, meets him, they do so with a hug and a kiss. They treat him with the respect one accords one’s father or grandfather.”