Sometimes, when you are lost you usually find yourself in a crowd. I do not mean to be vague, but it happens in gatherings when people are enjoying themselves. I like to stand near the door in a reception, in case I have to leave in a hurry. Anyway, I once spotted this large man entering alone, but then stopping at the door. He looked around nervously at the packed room trying to muster enough encourage to mingle with the crowd. I watched him closely, as he refused a cold drink offered by a pretty, young waitress. For a moment, I thought he was going to turn and walk away.

He did not! He took a step forward and moved to a corner where he could observe everybody. My immediate thought was that he was looking for a good reason to convince himself that he should stay. Perhaps, he was trying to find a familiar face. My host interrupted by tapping on my shoulder to ask: “Enjoying yourself?” I said I was, but then pointed at the lonely man at the corner and asked: “I don’t think he is comfortable. Who is he, anyway?”

He looked at him for a while, then shrugged his shoulders saying: “I don’t come up with all the guests on the list. I am sure he is not a gatecrasher. Anyway, let’s go and find out about him.”

When the man saw us approaching, he took a step backward. But there was only the wall, thus making sure he would not go anywhere. He shook our hands when we introduced ourselves. He said he was an accountant of a company and the host immediately recognised. “I told him you are not a gatecrasher,” said I, having decided to embarrass our gracious host, “we came here to find out.”

We laughed and that helped relax him. Seconds later, two more people joined us. Jokes were cracked and the man soon got the hang of it and started to fit in. It turned out, to my surprise, that he was a cheerful person. He also had a way with words and endless repertoire of phrases that delighted us all. He was a crowd puller too, because more people walked over to join us. When the meal was served, we all swarmed at his table to be at his side.

Who would have thought that a nervous, perspiring, fat man who looked unsure of himself was going to be the star of the party? I was curious, but I waited until it was time for the host to make a speech to get him to myself. We reverted to the same quiet corner and I started to ask him questions.

“You are very amusing for an accountant. Usually people of your profession are dull. Anyway, you looked lost when you came in,” I told him.

“I did not want to come and I usually avoid receptions,” he confessed, “but my boss wanted me here because he could not attend.” Since his boss wrote his annual report, he thought it would be wise to please him. “I am sure you have pleased him because you have entertained many guests tonight. Our host would remember that,” I told him. “I hope you are right. He is our important client,” he said not so cheerfully, but I did not probe any further.

We exchanged business cards and I forgot about the incident until I saw him at a financial press conference several months later. He shook my hand, but he had trouble remembering who I was.

I guess my contribution in that party was not memorable, but it did not matter. He was the star of the show and that really counted. Indeed, a single moment is all it takes to make an introvert the star of the party.

The writer is an Oman-based freelance columnist. The article has been reproduced from the Khaleej Times.