‘I was walking to have my lunch on a little cafe, and as I went past the hotel, somebody emerged from the side of the building,’ he recalled.
‘He popped out into the street, had the knife raised and called out “Allahu Akhbar”, so I thought “oh, this is a terrorist”.’
Police are still investigating the motivation for the crime, but Nay is confirmed to have a troubling mental history, and reportedly recently absconded from mental health care at a Sydney hospital.
John reacted by grabbing a chair, and slowly moved to confront the man to protect bystanders, some of whom were oblivious to what was going on, despite the danger.
‘He said he had a bomb in his bag, but the zip was undone - it didn't look like he had a bomb to me,’ John recalls.
Modest John says anyone would have done what he did, despite the wave of praise he’s received from a grateful community.
‘I think it's a bit over-egged to be honest. We live in a very peaceful community by in large, so when you see something like this arrive on your doorstep right out of nowhere, you've got no choice.
‘You've got to do something about it.’
And for that Anna and plenty more Australians are grateful.
WATCH: The incident that shocked Australia