He said he was not a hero, he was just trying to save himself -- so he could do all the things he had planned to, so he could again see a girl he liked.
But authorities have credited the quick-thinking actions of the young man who was carjacked by two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing as being key to their capture, and potentially preventing further attacks.
In a lengthy interview with The Boston Globe, the 26-year-old man told of his harrowing 90 minutes last Thursday night during which Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- having allegedly just killed an MIT police officer -- abducted him as they planned their next moves.
The man, a Chinese emigrant who had graduated from Northeastern University and now works at a start-up in Kendall Square, gave his name as Danny. He told Globe writer Eric Moskowitz that much of the evening's events were serendipitous. He had just happened to pull over on Brighton Avenue to answer a text message when another car pulled up behind him and Tamerlan Tsarnaev approached, revealing a gun.
"Don't be stupid," he told Danny.
Tamerlan got into the Mercedes and forced Danny to drive off, with his brother, Dzhokhar, following in the other car. After a time, Dzhokhar parked and joined them in the Mercedes, sitting behind Danny, who had been moved to the front passenger seat.
At times Danny's cell phone erupted with text messages or phone calls. Tamerlan Tsarnaev threatened to kill Danny if he spoke even one word of Chinese.
"Death is so close to me," he recalled thinking.
Later, the two returned to their parked car to retrieve items, which Danny thought was luggage.
As the Globe's Moskowitz describes it, the evening wore on like a Quentin Tarantino movie, in which criminals sprinkle conversations of violence with the mundane -- girls, cars, iPhones, credit lines.
Serendipity came into play again when the car was low on gas. One gas station they tried was closed, and when they stopped at a Shell station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, a sign read "Cash only."
When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went inside to pay -- using money they'd forced Danny to withdraw from an ATM -- Tamerlan momentarily put down his gun. Danny quickly unbuckled his seat belt, opened the car door and slipped out, darting off toward another lit gas station across the street.
He heard Tamerlan Tsarnaev shout an obscenity as he ran off, but the carjacker did not follow him. At the Mobil station he asked the clerk to call 911.
The police arrived soon after, and Danny spent until 3 p.m. the next afternoon talking to investigators, who asked him for details of their conversation, and to identify people detained by the police as possible suspects.
Danny told the Globe he did not want to be famous. But his escape and call to 911 led police to the Mercedes and to the Tsarnaevs, who engaged in a fierce firefight in Watertown early Friday morning that left one brother dead, another the wounded target of a massive manhunt that was successfully concluded later that evening.
To read the complete interview in the Boston Globe click here.