what you can control

This is pretty amazing. Said Ahmed, a New Zealand resident of Egyptian descent, runs a kebab shop in Christchurch. Last Saturday, he was targeted by as armed robber with a gun and a bag. Presumably, he wanted Ahmed to hand over all his cash. Instead, Ahmed continued making chicken souvlaki, which he bagged up and handed to the waiting customer. Then he walked off and called the police. The robber left in confusion.

This is the lesson for me: they can ask you anything they want, but you get to choose your answer. When someone waves a gun at you, they expect you to answer correctly by handing over your money. Or, perhaps, attack them and try to take the gun. But you can step out of the pattern and do something else. You can change the dialogue. (This is also the core of media training. They can ask you anything they want, but you don’t have to answer the question they asked. You can say anything you like in response.)

Ahmed wasn’t on auto-pilot. In an article in The Guardian, he explained that he handed the customer his order to give the customer an easy way to leave without drawing attention. He walked away from the robber because he thought he’d be harder to hit with a bullet if it wasn’t point blank.

Now Ahmed could have been shot. Being brave is dangerous. But it also gives you choices.