Woman Miraculously Escapes Kidnapper By Using Emotional Intelligence

One triathlete used her brains, not her body, to escape a deranged kidnapper.


Austrian triathlete Nathalie Birli was biking back home after training for an upcoming event, eager to see her partner and 14-week-old son.

En route, Nathalie was hit by her car and sent flying off her bike. A man exited the car, knocked her unconscious, bound her and threw her into the backseat. 

Birli woke up in an old house on remote property, naked and tied to a chair. 

Her captor, who she described as “full of hate,” gave her clear instructions.

“Do what I want — you will be free again tomorrow.”

“He blindfolded me, forced me to drink wine and schnapps and he always held a knife in his hand”

– Nathalie Birli

As Birli’s kidnapper became increasingly violent, she knew she would have to do something to change her circumstances.

Stop and smell the orchids

She found that something was hiding in plain sight: Orchids, on display throughout the house/prison. They must have meant something to her captor.

And so, she took a chance.

“I admired them and suddenly the perpetrator was nice to me. He was a gardener, he said, and suddenly told me about his botched life”

– Nathalie Birli

He confided in her, telling her that he is a gardener, and how loss, addiction and infidelity from past girlfriends took him down a dark path. 

Having made a connection, Birli amazingly persuaded him to let her go, telling him: “let’s say it was an accident.” He agreed to free her.

Humanity beats insanity

Fortunately, the man brought Nathalie back home along with her bike, which was equipped with GPS tracking. Police used the technology to find and arrest her kidnapper.

Safe now, Birli is nothing but grateful to have escaped from “a bad dream.”

“Thank God I was able to free myself and am well except for a broken arm and a head injury”

– Nathalie Birli

A life-saving connection

Nathalie is even more remarkable for being able to connect with her captor on some human level despite the suffering he inflicted on her.

Her ability to recognize that the orchids might be important to him — and expressing it — could very well have saved her life.

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