Ahmed and Ahmed

A Tragic Dubai Story from 1970s

Ahmed and Ahmed worked together in Port Rashid’s Maintenance Garage in 1970s. The younger Ahmed had entered Dubai as an illegal immigrant as many of Dubai's Workforce did in 1970s. Through a lengthy process, Ahmed became legally resident and found a job with Dubai Port Services at Port Rashid. Ahmed also passed his Driving Test so now drove buses for DPS each morning and evening and vehicles from the Garage to the Wash Bay and back during the day. Ahmed was also trusted with driving DPS’s Senior Managers and VIP Visitors around Dubai. The other Ahmed was much older. His background was obscure. No one seemed to know how Ahmed came to work for DPS as the Garage Cleaner. Ahmed had worked in the garage for several years. He worked hard, rarely spoke to anyone and generally kept himself to himself.

Then, one morning, Ahmed the Driver killed Ahmed the Cleaner.

Not intentionally. It was an accident. Ahmed the Driver drove over Ahmed the Cleaner while reversing a bus from the Wash Bay. Dubai Police arrived and immediately arrested the surviving Ahmed. Dubai Police took the view there was always someone to blame - in this case Ahmed the Driver. Ahmed was taken away and imprisoned. Later we were told Ahmed was to be charged with murder.

No one in the Workshop could understand how this tragic accident happened. Questions started to be asked. Over the following days, staff were interviewed, vehicles inspected, yards measured until, drawings made then, slowly, a picture emerged of what had happened.

The Daihatsu Mini Bus Ahmed had been driving had a rear window that was set high. The Driver sat low down in the Bus. This combination of a high rear window and low Driver seating resulted in a huge blind spot behind the bus where the driver could not see anyone walking or standing behind the bus either through the rear window or the bus's wing mirrors.

Ahmed the Cleaner’s movements were tracked. He always moved from the Garage to the Garbage Bins along the same route. On this occasion the bus was reversing on one side of a Garage wall while Ahmed the Cleaner was making his way to the Garbage Bins on the other side of the Garage wall. At the end of the wall Ahmed the Cleaner veered left and walked into the Yard with his back to the approaching bus. Ahmed the Cleaner was now in the bus blind spot and unseen by Ahmed the Driver. Ahmed the Cleaner and Ahmed the Driver paths converged, each unaware of the other. The bus ran over Ahmed the Cleaner who died instantly.

Ahmed the Driver was not to blame for Ahmed the Cleaner’s death.

A detailed Report was prepared and submitted to the Court via DPS’s local Lawyer. The Court's response was to ask Dubai Police to check if the Bus Reversing Alarm was working. Dubai Police checked. Reversing Alarm was working. Maintenance Records showed the Reversing Alarm had been regularly checked. Police decided Ahmed the Cleaner had ignored the Bus’s Reversing Alarm. Their Report was sent to the Court. The Judge asked if DPS was insured and if Ahmed the Cleaner’s family would receive compensation. Answer was “Yes” on both counts. The amount of compensation was submitted to the Court for their consideration and approval. The Court declared Ahmed the Driver innocent.

Ahmed the Driver was released and returned to work.

A Company Representative visited Ahmed the Cleaner’s family to inform them of the outcome and amount of compensation they would receive. He also explained the Police findings that the Bus Reversing Alarm had been working properly but Ahmed had ignored its warning.

“But Ahmed was deaf” the family said “He has always been deaf”.