During a recent episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” author Salman Rushdie opened up about a harrowing incident that occurred during a book event. Rushdie revealed that his life was saved by a group of heroes, including a retired fireman with a remarkable thumb.

The incident took place while Rushdie was on stage with Henry Ree, promoting Rushdie’s new book, “Knife.” Without warning, a 24-year-old man wielding a knife rushed towards them. In a truly courageous act, Ree, a man in his 70s, sprang into action, tackling the attacker to the ground.

Not stopping there, members of the audience seated in the front row rushed to the stage and joined forces to subdue the assailant until authorities arrived. While Rushdie never learned their names, their bravery was undeniable. They were the first to save his life.

But the heroics did not end there. Several doctors who happened to be in the audience also stepped up to assist Rushdie. Additionally, a retired fireman with a sizeable thumb came to the rescue. He applied pressure to Rushdie’s neck, the site of the major wound, maintaining it throughout the ordeal. This selfless act ensured that Rushdie remained stable until medical help arrived.

Although Rushdie was conscious throughout the incident, he admitted that his senses weren’t fully acute. However, he vividly remembered the retired fireman, who introduced himself as either Matt or Mark Perez. Rushdie expressed his gratitude for this courageous individual, as well as the other unnamed individuals who played a vital role in his survival.

The talk show host, Stephen Colbert, went on to ask Rushdie about the motivation behind the attack, relating it to the controversy surrounding Rushdie’s earlier work, “The Satanic Verses.” Rushdie revealed that the attacker, who had given an ill-advised interview from jail to the New York Post, claimed to be an admirer of the book. It seemed to Rushdie that the attack was somehow related to this ongoing controversy.

Colbert further delved into the relationship between humor and violence, as Rushdie had previously stated that those who lack a sense of humor are often more inclined towards violence. Rushdie highlighted the liberating power of humor and how it brings people together. He juxtaposed this with the Taliban’s worldview, which seeks to suppress laughter, music, and anything pleasurable.

Rushdie’s ability to blend humor and thought-provoking insights into his conversation with Colbert is a testament to his disarming personality. His unique perspective on peace and disturbance, as evidenced by the awards he has received, including the German Peace Prize and the lifetime “Disturbing the Peace” award, exemplify the multifaceted nature of his work.

As the episode concluded, Rushdie’s presence served as a reminder of the resilience and strength of the human spirit, even in the face of adversity. The talk show episode provided a platform for Rushdie to share his extraordinary story and shed light on the importance of laughter and unity in a world often characterized by division and conflict.

So, a fireman’s thumb and an audience full of heroes played a crucial role in saving Salman Rushdie‘s life. Their bravery and quick actions are a testament to the power of ordinary people coming together to protect and preserve the life of someone in need.