An Ottawa resident who helped thwart a gas station robbery by a masked man with a Molotov cocktail in 2011 received a national bravery award on Thursday.
Brennan Richardson said he was buying energy drinks and water from a gas station at Bank Street and Gladstone Avenue in January 2011 around midnight when a man wearing a ski mask opened the door.
He was holding a Molotov cocktail, a fuel-filled bottle with a rag for a fuse that can serve as a homemade bomb.
“The fuse was burning and he lifted it above his head and said ‘all right boys,’" Richardson said.
Richardson then pushed the man outside as the bottle smashed on the ground near the gas pumps, but didn’t ignite.
“The manager came running out and grabbed him by the ski mask… ripped it off, then the young man went running down, jumped over (a) fence and took off down the block,” Richardson said.
Police said they found the masked man after he jumped a fence and fled and later charged him with attempted robbery.
'Tonight, your energy drinks are free'
Richardson, a worker on Parliament Hill and an occasional actor, said he knows he got lucky after he chose to confront the masked man.
“A lot of people have said that I probably should have run away or called police,” he said.
“I did get a chance to speak to the manager who was there that night and his words were ‘Your face will always be in my heart and tonight, your energy drinks are free.’”
He received his Medal of Bravery from the Governor-General Thursday morning, a ceremony his parents flew in from Saskatoon to see.
"We're very proud of him, but as parents you’re also very worried he was in a dangerous situation,” said his mother Jocelin.
“But it is his nature."
Richardson said he’s being considered for another bravery award after he helped in the rescue of two people from the Rideau River last summer.
“Some of my colleagues in the office started joking that I was aspiring to be Batman,” he said.
43 award recipients
Forty three Canadians were recognized by Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall Thursday.
Other area honourees include Cpl. Dale Kurdziel of Ottawa, who defused an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in February 2010 and Jonathan Storring of Kingston, who saved a girl from the Petawawa River in June 2011.
Thunder Bay’s Daniel Morrison is getting the Star of Courage, one level higher than the Medal of Bravery, for fighting a bear with a knife after it went after a colleague in October 2011.
“I think one of the nice things about the Canadian award system for bravery and acts of courage is they are awards that can be won by Canadians whether they’re in the armed forces, whether they serve in the police or whether they’re ordinary citizens,” Richardson said.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that it instills that sense of bravery among our fellow citizens and a sense of duty and responsibility to look after each other.”