M'sian City Life #17: I Was Annoyed At This Waiter Until I Learnt The Truth About Him

"I thought to myself, maybe he was feeling stressed out."

Cover image via Syahril A. Kadir

Syahril A. Kadir was at the Kuala Lumpur International Hotel (KLIH) in Kampung Baru last week when he had an encounter with someone who opened up his heart a little

Image via KL Coconuts

It all started when the former crime reporter and editor was seated down at Top Pot Cafe in KLIH, patiently waiting for his hot chocolate.

It was then that Sabah-born Syahril saw this youth who was so focused and diligent on serving drinks. Syahril watched this person who was so relentless, tirelessly moving around to bring the drinks from the counter to the customers.

However, Syahril felt that there was something different about this young man. This guy he was looking at wasn't like the other waiters.

"He kept his mouth shut the whole time. Never once did he open his mouth. His face was serious, and he looked as if he was in his own world," Syahril remarked.

"I thought to myself, maybe he was feeling stressed out," the 40-year-old said.

Syahril was about to dismiss his own thoughts but what happened next made him a little annoyed at the young waiter

The young man had walked over to Syahril's table with a cup of hot chocolate but strangely, he did not serve the drink.

"This was the most intriguing part. He came over and just stood there straight, right beside me," Syahril said.

"I was the one who had to take the drink myself from the tray that he was holding. How annoying!"

"I'm sorry, sir. He is a child with autism,” said a voice behind him, interrupting his thoughts.

Dan Lo (right) serving a customer at Top Pot Cafe.

Image via Syahril A. Kadir

Before he could react, a hotel executive named Aishah - who was watching from afar - came over and apologised to Syahril.

She clarified that the young waiter who was serving Syahril has autism, thus explaining his "unusual" behaviour.

But that wasn't the end of the conversation as Syahril learnt a little more about this young man's story from his short talk with Aishah

His name is Dan Lo, a 22-year-old from Pandan Indah who has never received any formal education and only attended home tuitions since young.

Syahril was told that Dan's parents had sent him for a course in hotel management but he still had trouble getting a job because of his Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) status. That was until Kuala Lumpur International Hotel gave him a chance and offered him a job to work there.

Despite his limitations, Aishah only had good things to say about Dan and was full of praise for the young lad because of his sincere character

Aishah, a hotel executive from KLIH telling Dan's story to Syahril.

Image via Syahril A. Kadir

"He has never skipped a day of work here. There were customers who did not know about his background and scolded him but Dan has never taken those remarks to heart," Aishah told Syahril.

"He has been resilient and diligent in doing the tasks given to him and he doesn't want us to give him any special treatment," she added.

"He wants to be independent. He doesn't want to be a burden to his family."

After listening to Dan's story, Syahril felt nothing but a sense of pride and he was impressed at this young man who has worked at the hotel for more than 6 months

Syahril (right) with Dan.

Image via Syahril A. Kadir

Syahril was so touched and moved by Dan's amazing story. It left a mark in his heart.

"I am amazed at Dan Lo. I am amazed at KLIH for its willingness to give Dan an opportunity to work at the hotel," the media consultant and writer said.

"Dan's story should open our eyes and ears so that we will not forsake those who are like him," Syahril said.

Living in the city ain’t a piece of cake but it could also be exciting and adventurous. How are you coping? How are you making the best out of things? Do you have a story or experience to share?

SUBMIT YOUR STORY NOW, or work on it and send it soon. Share a personal experience, your story as an urban city-dweller in Malaysia, whether it’s yours or from someone you know, email [email protected] or FB message us.

We’ll get in touch with you for your story to be featured on SAYS!

Stay tuned for the next episode!

Previously on Malaysian City Life #16, Emmanuel Olalere shared about his struggles as a Nigerian living in KL:

You may be interested in: