It’s easy to have preconceived notions about what “tough” looks like. Since childhood, we’ve been conditioned by television and movies and stories of hardened heroes.
The stalwart detective. The brave soldier. The indomitable athlete. Such images inform our ideas about what toughness should look like.
Sometimes, though, ordinary people prove just as hardy as the legends. And sometimes they even do things like stopping crimes with the unlikeliest of objects.
Consider a clerk in Shizuoka, Japan, who foiled a thief thanks to his bravery and quick thinking. According to SoraNews24, on Oct. 16, 2017, a masked thief came strolling into a Circle K convenience store while wielding a crowbar.
The clerk didn’t panic. Instead, he asked if the robber was there for the store’s money, to which the criminal responded, “That’s right.”
Then the clerk swept up a wooden kendo training sword he kept behind the counter, slapped the alarm button and struck a fighting stance. Facing incoming police and an imminent thwacking, the robber promptly fled.
A clerk in a Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, didn’t have a sword available when a robber came looking for a quick payday. CTV News reported that clerk Saungae Kim used what she had at hand: a bunch of bananas.
About an hour before closing, she was sitting behind the store’s counter while eating a banana when the thief came in. He tried to vault over the counter and get the cash register, but Kim’s husband pushed him back.
“I was scared my husband was going to be hurting, so I get the banana,” she explained. “And I’m starting to hit him so hard, and he run away.”
According to the Washington Post, a brave store owner didn’t even have a tropical fruit with which to scare away a gun-wielding assailant. Then again, he didn’t end up needing it.
The man was Reynaldo Cárdenas, the owner of a butcher shop named Carnes Cares in Monterrey, Mexico. His son, Daniel Cárdenas, was behind the counter when a nervous-looking man in a hoodie came into the store with a gun.
Surveillance video shows the man first point the gun at Daniel and then at Reynaldo. He should’ve known the proverbial jig was up almost immediately.
Why? Despite having a gun leveled at him at point-blank range, the footage shows Reynaldo taking off his glasses as if preparing to get physical. And when the criminal gets distracted by a customer and looks away, he tackles him.
As the two fling themselves around the store, the robber loses his gun. That’s when a skittish butcher sprints into the frame and snaps up the firearm.
About that time, the criminal worms his way out of Reynaldo’s grasp, leaving his hoodie behind, and tries to make a break for the entrance. But another butcher intercepts him, seizing him by the throat, and then Reynaldo is on him, and that’s the end of the confrontation.
Daniel Cárdenas explained that his dad got tough out of terror, saying, “Actually, he told me that he acted that way out of fear. He really believed that the man was going to shoot them. When he had the chance, he acted instinctively to disarm him. … I’m just glad he wasn’t hurt.”