Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

3 American heroes in ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ say they were “guided by God”


Glenn Fawcett | US Department of Defense

Zelda Caldwell - published on 02/01/18

The friends were on a tour of Europe when they foiled a terrorist attack.

Actor-director Clint Eastwood’s new film, The 15:17 to Paris, which opens on February 9, tells the true story of three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack aboard a crowded train on August 21, 2015.  Today they believe that they were meant to be on that train.

The three heroes play themselves in the movie, and in an interview with the Guardian, said that they believe that they were guided by God when they subdued Ayoub el-Khazzani, a Moroccan national threatening passengers with an automatic AK47.

All three friends, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, are practicing Christians according to the report.

“We know this series of events weren’t coincidences. It’s like our lives were leading up to that moment,” Sadler, a pastor’s son, told the Guardian.

“You don’t always know what plan God has for you. What we’ve come to realize with hindsight is that [this] was all part of a plan, of a bigger picture. That’s where we were supposed to be that day.”

Skarlatos added, “If you look at the statistics of everything that happened, just the odds of being in a terrorist attack are astronomical. The odds of surviving it and being the ones that stopped it, and the odds of our exact situation happening to us, are too astronomical to believe that it was purely just chance. I really think God had a hand in it. We were vessels, being used.”

After hearing gunshots, Spencer Stone ran towards the gunmen. Joined by his friends and a British passenger, Chris Norman, the group managed to overpower Khazzani, who was also armed with a pistol, a knife, a hammer and gasoline.

Sadler said that making the movie was part of God’s plan as well.

“I think it’s our responsibility to take that message and be responsible with it and spread it as much as we can so we don’t waste the opportunity that [God] gave us,” said Sadler.

“The fact that we’re living, we’re meant to spread the story and it’s meant to touch people, and we’re the three people that were chosen to do that.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.