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Tim Dubai 2008I used to go for lunch almost every Friday to a restaurant in Dubai at Souk Madinat Jumeirah named Meat & Co. (a South African company) located right on the canal side of the complex.

I loved the location overlooking the canals and the atmosphere inside, and I always got my own little table right in the best corner.

One afternoon I had finished a long liquid lunch and went to the loo, but the toilet was at the far end of the establishment. When I tried to go back to my table the restaurant had started their weekly staff meeting, about 40 people and I couldn’t get through the crowd, so I had no option but to find a seat and listen to the staff lectures.

The Manager saw me sitting [somewhat uncomfortably] in the audience and said “Hey, we have a customer here, please come up and say something”.

So much to my embarrassment I got up and made a speech to everyone.

It was about life; about why you should be happy, about the fact that even if wages for restaurant workers in Dubai were not great; at least they had a job.

I had never given that sort of speech before in my life. It came from the heart, and it seems it touched their hearts too. I did it again two weeks later at their invitation.

The owners of the restaurant never gave me a free meal or a free drink (I don’t care about that at all) . . . but everyone on the staff there became my friends for life.

If you ever go there ask for me ok (but ask for TIM because that is the name they know me by) – no free stuff but the warmest welcome you will ever get in any restaurant in the world . .