One year ago on November 13, 2015, Salim Toorabally was a security guard for the Nation Stadium in France on the night of a major soccer game. Approximately 80,000 people had piled into the stadium to watch France compete against Germany. It was an immensely exciting night.
Amid his many duties, he stopped a certain man from entering without a ticket. , “I have to go in, I have to,” the security guard recalled the man saying.Despite his pleas and attempts to sneak past Toorabally, the man was never granted entry into the stadium after spending about 10 minutes attempting to get into the stadium. That man was Bilal Hadfi, who would less than an hour later take his own life and injure others as a terrorist suicide bomber. Toorabally was the only person who stood between a would be suicide bomber and a stadium filled with 80,000 fans.
As a security guard we expect to handle difficult people, “but not this,” Toorabally said. Toorabally is Muslim and takes great pride in having successfully stopped what could have been a devastating attack by a soldier of ISIS. The media quickly turned him into a hero and he has travelled the world speaking on the importance of security guards at sporting events. “I go there to remind security forces that we represent our country, that we represent the law,” Toorabally said.
His experiences have only strengthened Toorabally’s love for his country. Security guards are the most essential component to any large event. Thought their role can easily be overlooked when everything runs smoothly, Toorabally’s story underscores the absolute need for proper security. In what may have seemed in the moment as one small act, 80,000 individuals were guarded from harms way thanks to a dedicated security guard.
At ISSM protective services, we would like to pay tribute to Salim Toorabally and all of our wonderful guards who protect lives and maintain peaceful environments on a daily basis.