HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, celebrated his birthday in an unexpected way this past Saturday. Known for his amiable nature and willingness to engage with the public, the sheikh stunned an Indian entrepreneur and his family during an elevator ride at Atlantis The Royal.
Anas Rahman Junaid, the entrepreneur, was accompanied by his wife and two children when they embarked on an elevator journey from the 22nd floor of the renowned hotel. Little did they know that their elevator ride would turn into a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the ruler himself, reports Khaleej Times.
Sheikh Mohammed engaged in a pleasant conversation with the family, even posing for a photograph before departing, leaving the family in a whirlwind of excitement.
Anas revealed that the excitement was shared by his 10-year-old daughter Mishel and 7-year-old son Daniyal. “When we stepped off the elevator, all of us were jumping in excitement,” he expressed. “We could not believe that we had actually met him and spoken to him. In fact, my wife later took a photo of the lift and shared it on social media saying it was her most favorite lift in the world. We then sent the photos with him to our school friends and family groups before posting on social media.”
The Junaid family, who frequently divide their time between Dubai and Mumbai, were enjoying a two-week vacation at Atlantis The Royal when the extraordinary encounter took place. While descending from their 22nd-floor room, Sheikh Mohammed joined the elevator along with his entourage on the 21st floor.
Anas couldn’t contain his admiration for the ruler’s friendly demeanor. “I had heard of him being friendly with people, but to experience it was something different,” he expressed. “After speaking to my daughter, he turned to us and asked us where we were from and what we do. After that, he kindly obliged for a photograph. My son usually doesn’t smile for photographs, but this time he had the biggest smile on his face.”
Despite the thrilling experience, Anas did express a slight regret. “We knew it was his birthday, but when we saw him in the lift with us, we could not remember anything,” he admitted. “It was just so surreal; we were all so excited, and everything happened so suddenly. It was only 20 floors, and the elevator was so quick. It was too short a ride for us.”
Sheikh Mohammed’s spontaneous interactions with the public have earned him a reputation as a ruler who genuinely cares for his people. This remarkable encounter with the Junaid family serves as another testament to his amicable nature and his willingness to make memorable moments for those fortunate enough to meet him.