John Nixon may look like your average grandpa next door, but as five would-be robbers recently discovered, there is much more to him than what first meets the eye.
The 88-year-old was walking in Raglan Street, Kentish Town in London when he saw five thugs attacking a young woman. Nixon, a former Special Air Service veteran, knew he had to help her.
At first, he tried to divert the attention away from the woman long enough for her to escape, but things quickly escalated.
“My initial thoughts were to divert their attention away from the girl who was screaming,” he recalled. “I shouted, ‘Leave her alone.’ But they turned on me, saying, ‘We’ll take your money instead,’ and I said, ‘No you don’t.’ Kids this age are full of bravado, you see, they weren’t expecting a surprise.”
The surprise he was referring to was his military training quickly kicking in, even after so many years.
As the attackers came at him, Nixon karate chopped one of them on the neck. He disabled two of the thugs – suffering stab wounds in the process – before all of them ran off with their tails between their legs.
A neighbor who saw the attack called police and Nixon was taken to the hospital where he was treated for his wounds. Thankfully, the cuts were shallow.
Nixon, who is a widower with an adult daughter, was commended at a neighborhood police meeting for his “extraordinary bravery.” But while others are hailing him a hero, Nixson insists it was just instinct and training that helped him fend off the attackers.
This isn’t the first time Nixson has acted heroically – or had a brush with death, for that matter.
He trained as a commando in the 1940s and also fought in the Korean War as part of an elite unit. He has taken part in intelligence missions around the world, including in places like Egypt, the Middle East, and Germany.
For him, this scary encounter was just one more adventure in his fascinating and incredible life.
“I’ve been shot in the leg and even bitten by a snake, the venom lay dormant in my spine for years,” he said. “I’ve been near death so many times that situation just doesn’t worry me. The woman ran off screaming but I hope she is okay.”
No arrests have yet been made in relation to this incident, but hopefully police will track down the criminals soon.
What an incredible hero! While he may not see himself as such, we know the woman he saved sure does – and we do too!
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