Sydney Siege hostage, 83, recounts escape: 'I've never felt such relief'
He went into the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney to get a coffee before he went for his annual visit to his optician.
But Mr John O'Brien did not get his eyes checked that day because he was taken hostage along with 16 others by Man Haron Monis, who is believed to have been mentally unstable with a violent history.
He was one of the five hostages who managed to escape hours into the siege that claimed the live of two hostages, cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, and customer Katrina Dawson, 38, a lawyer who was a mother of three young children. Monis was also killed.
Mr John O'Brien said: "I have never felt such a relief as I did when I turned that corner and saw the armed police waiting."
The Guardian reported that two men had asked to go to the toilet. One of them was a staff member who was asked by Monis to escort the other man.
The other man asked the staff member if the green button at the base of the door would open it.
The staff member did not know and said to him: "I've only worked here for about a week."
Even so, the men took a risk when Monis' attention wasn't focused on them.
The pushed the button, the doors slid open, and quickly ran to safety.
Mr O'Brien added that he has been playing tennis to de-stress since the escape but still continues to struggle with what happened.
Source: ABC Australia, The Guardian