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Afsal ‘best’ for tourists; sacrificed in guest service

Ahmed Afsal, a 39-year-old housekeeper from Hithadhoo, Addu Atoll, was a star employee at Centara Grand Island Resort. Tourists consistently praised him raving about his attentiveness, creativity, and friendly demeanour. Afsal wasn’t just a great housekeeper; he was a kind and helpful person who went above and beyond for his guests. Afsal, who is single and has no children, tragically died last Thursday while saving a drowning tourist.

He has praise on the world’s leading booking websites. The tourists he served wrote messages full of gratitude. Afsal, who worked as a housekeeper at Centara Grand Island Resort, was the top in his field. For guests, he was the “best”.

“Thank you so much Afsal for the daily surprise (various bed decorations). You are the ‘King of Sheets’,” a tourist wrote in a review on TripAdvisor under the headline ‘Afsal is the Best’.

The tourists also shared some photos of Afsal and his talent. A ‘welcome’ sign arranged in different ways. Various fish carved in sand on the ground.

Another tourist commented on Expedia about the same surprises.

“He is very helpful. Whenever you need something or something, you get his help,” a tourist named Luke wrote in the review on October 31, 2023.

Another person wrote a review thanking the whole resort and specifically mentioned Afsal. “He is marvellous,” the review said, noting his attention to the smallest details and the cleanliness of the room.

“Our housekeeper Afsal was wonderful… the villa we stayed in was always spotless,” wrote a tourist named Tom wrote in a review written a week ago.

Tom’s review also noted Afsal’s attention to the smallest details.

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Afsal spent most of his life in the tourism industry. Previously, Adaaran Club Rannali and Club Med. Finally, at the Centara Grand.

Death in service

Afsal passed away last Thursday while serving a tourist.

His last service in this world was to save the life of a drowning tourist.

On the last day of his life, Afsal sacrificed his life for a tourist. The tourist’s life was saved. However, Afsal was pronounced dead when he was taken to ADh. Dangethi Health Centre.

Afsal’s body was taken to Addu in a sea ambulance and buried in Hithadhoo after Friday prayers.

Saving lives; Not new to Afsal

“He was very kind and sociable,” Afsal’s cousin Abdulla Ansar said.

Ansar, who works at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hura, was in Addu for his brother’s funeral.

Coincidentally, at the time of the phone call, Ansar was in charge of organising Afsal’s belongings at the resort.

“Here are the comments written by the guests and what they gave, Afsal collected. ‘You are the best’. ‘This karaoke microphone is presented to you,” Ansar said, looking at some of the items.

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Ansar’s story showed that his brother was a brave man and that he does not hesitate to help people.

“He had saved tourists’ lives two or three times before. Just like this. Afsal himself called me at the time,” Ansar said.

So Ansar couldn’t believe what happened. The death certificate said he was drowned. But he said how he feels: “It’s like a brain or heart arrest, I think. Do the people who saw the scene know what happened? This is what I think,” he said.

Ansar didn’t want to talk about it anymore because it was difficult to tell.

Afsal is role model, leader

Afsal, who is one year older, is Ansar’s role model. In the workplace, Afsal is also a role model for his colleagues.

“I respect him very much. He is respectful and kind to people. When I meet people from the resorts he used to work for, they say he is a leader. He is the best,” Ansar said.

“When my brother’s body was brought here, a housekeeper from Centara came. He says Afsal is energetic and very active,” Ansar said.

Ansar’s story noted the kindness shown by Centara in this incident. The resort’s general manager called as soon as the incident occurred.

With his brother’s death, Ansar had no intention or courage to go back to a resort where he also serves.

“I’m going to take a little break these days. I’m not really fit,” he said.

“But you can’t give up in life. I’m going to get up when I fall.

Although Afsal passed away, he did something commendable. Although not a big matter in Maldives, it is a medal-worthy act in some countries.

However, Afsal’s example in service and the titles given to him by tourists such as ‘You’re the Best’ and ‘King of Sheets’ will remain in their memory. He made sure of that with his first-class service.

Note: This article was originally published in the local Dhivehi language by Dhauru (you may visit the original article here). The English translation has been provided by Hotelier Maldives.

Hotelier News Desk
Hotelier Maldives is the leading publication dedicated to the Maldivian hospitality industry, accessible in both print and digital formats. Our magazine is committed to the mission of "informing, inspiring, and connecting the Maldives hospitality sector." Reach us at info@hoteliermaldives.com.