Property entrepreneur Gulu Lalvani had been in the audience of 550 at the Thailand Property Awards gathering in Bangkok.
But when the announcement was made that he was the Real Estate Personality of the Year, the yachting tycoon could not be found.
He had been there seconds earlier, but had to depart the venue at the Conrad hotel suddenly because of a problem at home.
In his absence, the Chairman of the Royal Phuket Marina was named the Real Estate Personality of the Year, as chosen by Property Report Thailand magazine.
At least the organisers of the event could take cheer from the fact that this year's results were not leaked to anyone, not even to the top award winner.
''We didn't see him leave,'' said organiser and publisher Duncan Worthington.'' And two minutes later, we announced his award.''
Six Andaman real estate players were honored:
Best Developer award went to Raimon Land, developer of The Heights, Kata Gardens and Amalfi in Phuket as well as a number of projects in Pattaya and Bangkok.
KIJ Development, developer of Aleenta in Natai Beach, Phang Nga, was named Best Boutique Developer.
All 19 categories except for Personality of the Year were subject to a selection and judging process that was overseen by the BDO Richfield Advisory Limited accounting and consultancy firm, said Mr Worthington.
He heads Ensign Media, creator of the awards.
For the Best Villa and Best Condo Development categories, awards were separated into five regions.
The Phuket regional winners were The Cape Residences villas by Campbell Kane and The Heights condominiums by Raimon Land.
West Sands, a luxury residential and Outrigger resort project still under development in Mai Khao Beach, picked up the Crystela Green Development Award while Phuket-based Indigo Real Estate won the Best Thailand Agent award.
This year's competition, the third annual Thailand Property Awards, attracted more than 360 company nominations and some 250 entries from across the country.
Back in Phuket, Mr Worthington was finally able to catch up with the elusive winner to present him with the award.
''Factors that are considered include the person's impact on the market, their presence in the market and the influence they have had,'' Mr Worthington said.
''Gulu fits those criteria quite well. Through his own desire and drive, and the marketing of Royal Phuket Marina and the associated marine lifestyle, it's fair to say he has waved the flag very high for Phuket on the global stage, from which ultimately all Phuket real estate has benefitted.
''Similarly in the first year, Nigel Cornick, CEO of Raimon Land, was everywhere in the press and, through vast marketing expenditure, put Pattaya back on the map.
''Last year, Robert Collins, MD of Savills, played a big part in putting luxury real estate in Krabi on the map through the launch of Amatapura, and through a number of 'celebrity' real estate purchases organised by Savills (Justin Hennin, Sven Goran Erikson, Graham Poll etc.)
''He also indirectly gave a huge boost of interest to Samui real estate around the world.''