As three armed men stormed London’s Borough Market, Mark Stembridge, owner of Café Brood, led 130 customers to safety. Three of his staff had formerly served in the Albanian military, and remained calm under pressure as they organised and reassured patrons while the attack continued outside. Staff and customers remained in the café for about half an hour, before being relocated to a hotel and released at 6am.
Stembridge said he was briefed by police following the Westminster attack earlier this year, and has called for further instruction and training to be given to bar and restaurant owners in the event of future attacks.
Stembridge’s story is just one tale of heroism emerging in the wake of the attacks, including a bakery worker who hit one of the attackers over the head with a bread crate before sheltering people in his store. Borough Market remains closed as police and forensic experts continue to examine the scene. The closure remains indefinite, causing uncertainty for shop owners and restaurateurs.
“It is a worrying time because it’s a very family-night-out-type place – we rely on all the customers,” said Stembridge. “I think people will come back, that’s the British thing. Sod them. We’re going to come back and make the most of it.”