Four people were killed Friday when the terrorist Amedy Coulibaly took several hostages inside a Kosher market in Paris, but that number may well have been higher were it not for a quick-thinking employee of the market named Lassana Bathily.
Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim from Mali, was working in the store in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood when the Islamist gunman burst in.
As panic ensued, up to 15 customers in the store hurried down to the store basement, when Bathily had an idea.
“When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer],” he told France’s BFMTV.
He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, “Stay calm here. I’m going out.”
Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. “They congratulated me,” he told BFMTV.