Nurses working at hospitals across the UAE received a phone call on Monday from Mohanlal, a famous Indian actor, thanking them for their hard work ahead of International Nurses Day.
Some received the call while walking in full protective gear in hospital corridors while others were bent over patient registers at nurses' stations.
Many spoke into phones wrapped in plastic and hugged their colleagues in delight.
The actor, a big name in the south Indian film industry, called more than a dozen nurses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain directly on their mobile to say thanks to the true superheroes.
Anumol Joseph, a nurse in Medeor Hospital, said she "squealed with joy" when she realised it was the superstar on the other end and not someone playing a prank.
“It took me some time to get back to my senses,” said an elated Ms Joseph, who works in the hospital’s Covid-19 ward.
“Usually, I do not take attend to calls from unknown numbers during duty time. Particularly nowadays, as we have to remove our face shields to attend calls. But I would have regretted it for my entire life if I had missed the call.”
Staff were told to expect a call but none suspected it would be an actor. The phone calls were organised by VPS Healthcare as a special gift to nurses in the country.
Mohanlal underwent surgery for a hand injury at Burjeel Hospital in Dubai last December.
The actor, who spoke on phone from Chennai, India, told the medics to stay strong and that “this tough phase will soon come to an end.”
Mohanlal, known by one name, asked people to thank nurses and doctors for their commitment, sacrifice and pray for their health as they fought on the front lines against the pandemic.