Employee Spotlight: Sabir Khayaliyev

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Sabir Khayaliyev has lived in Bowling Green for seven years and is originally from Turkey. He went to high school in Russia, and now he is attending Western Kentucky University, where he studies Biology.  Sabir will be graduating in May of next year, and after that he has plans to attend Medical School in Louisville.

Q &A with Sabir Khayaliyev

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? I was looking for a fun job to have and of course making money. I visited for the first time about six years ago, when I decided to write a paper for my English class about Lost River Cave.  I took a tour, and ever since I’ve been in love with this place.

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had?
There are people here that I went to high school with. Also, people that I work with here are either attending college or still doing school.  Most of them are studying biology as well.

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here? Yes back then when I visited other caves, I had no information about the cave ecology or things you aren’t supposed to bring to the cave.  I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to touch, and now I know how to protect and preserve.

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?  My sister and her family came and took my tour.  They really loved it, but they had no idea that I was so talkative.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? I only know the ones I like: the joke about falling off the boat and panicking and then just standing up because the water is only 3 feet deep.  The best one of all is the joke about coming out of the cave and the survey under the low hanging rock.  I say this is the part of the cave where I love to take a survey. Customer satisfaction is very important to us, so those of you who didn’t like my tour, please stand up and tell me about it.

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to, or where would you like to go? Most of my life was like traveling because I was born in Turkey and when I was about two years old I moved with my family to Uzbekistan, and a couple of years later to Russia. Living in Bowling Green gave me an opportunity to travel to different states. This year I went to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I went on top of the Table Mountain and Mount Mitchell. Also, in August I have a trip to Seattle.   

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? I would definitely recommend Mammoth Cave and see things like huge stalactites and stalagmites we don’t have in this cave.  But if you are hoping to visit a cave somewhere else with a boat tour in Kentucky, you probably won’t be able to.

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? Even though the cave is cold and wet, it still is rich and history and it has been important for various types of people throughout all the ages, and it’s definitely something good to learn about this place.


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