When two masked men walked into Zhen Yang's Gatineau, Que., convenience store, at first he thought it was a practical joke.
He was just closing up the store around 10:30 p.m., eager to get back to his wife and kids waiting for him in their upstairs apartment.
But as the men whipped out short knives and demanded cash from the register, he knew it was no farce.
"Nobody takes out a knife to make a joke," he said. "At that point, I got a little bit scared."
But on security footage, he appears calm and composed as the men point at the register with their knives and demand him to open it.
But as the men became more agitated and one of them tries to get behind the counter, Yang knew his life might seriously be in danger.
Yang searched the shelves behind the counter for something, anything he could use to fend off his assailants.
"I need to find something to defend myself, I cannot use my pencil, right?" he said as he relived the experience.
Then Yang remembered he had a can of bear spray tucked away. The spray had been sitting there unused for years.
Yang let the two thieves have a full dose to the face.
While one man fled the scene, Yang managed to grab the other as he leaped over the counter, repeatedly spanking him with a closed fist.
Soon after his wife, Bi Liang, and a customer came in and helped him subdue the suspect until police arrived.
Interrogating the first suspect led to the arrest of the second, and both men are being charged with robbery, wearing a disguise and possession of a concealed weapon.