Zainab Salem was working the late shift in a grocery store when a gun-toting youth stormed in and demanded she hand over the day’s takings. But before she knew it Salem found herself at the other side of the counter, much to the surprise of the gunman who took to his heels.
“He pointed a gun at me. First I ducked. Then I picked up sweets and threw them at him before running around to the other side of the counter,” Salem told The Local.
“I didn’t really have time to think. It happened in seconds. But I think I’d just had enough. It was the third time I was threatened like this in the space of five months.”
Salem screamed as she ran, alerting her brother who was working in the back. He too gave chase and soon they were out on the street and closing in on the 17-year-old robber.
The sister and brother pair caught the gunman, restrained him, and brought him back to the shop. By the time they got there the police were already on the scene.
“I think the police were shocked when they heard what I’d done. It was pure adrenaline. I was lucky of course, even though I don't think the gun was loaded, but I was just so tired of it. They always pick on people who are smaller than them.”
Measuring just 160 cm (5 feet, 2 inches) and weighing in at 40 kilos (88 pounds), Salem probably looked an easy target.
“I didn’t want to take it any more. I’ve been threatened with a crow bar, an axe and a gun. Now I’ve put my foot down. The guy said he had debts and that’s why he did it. Well, maybe he’ll try looking for a job next time.”