A CLASS Eight school dropout defied all odds when he won the Tanoa Waterfront Employee of the Year Award at the hotel awards night at the hotel on Saturday night.
Twenty-seven-year-old Shahim Shah was forced to quit school because his father didn't have money to support his education.
In fact, the Lautoka lad went out of his way searching for jobs until securing one at the hotel in 2005.
His hard work and sacrifice paid off when he was named employee of the year and surpassing the achievements of his better educated workmates.
In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Shah said he never imagined that he would receive the award.
"I only reached Class Eight because my father could not support me any further, so I looked everywhere for jobs to support my family until I ended up here as a grass cutter in this hotel," Mr Shah said.
"Now this is my eighth year at the hotel and I am happy that I have been accepted to be on par.
"I am shocked to receive this award since there are many well-educated staff members working with me. I thank my employer, especially the management, for rewarding my efforts."
Mr Shah said the award would make him strive to go the extra mile next year.
"This award will inspire me to work hard next year and contribute positively to the growth of the hotel," he added.
Hotel general manager Narend Kumar said Mr Shah was a good listener and workaholic who deserved to win the award.
"He started with us as a grasscutter now he is a driver, events co-ordinator, stage decorator and all-rounder," said Mr Kumar.
"He was the one who decorated the hall for our awards night. He is a fast learner and multi-talented."