The first two stories about good people today should never have happened. Anywhere but the United States, they wouldn’t have happened. That said, I’m so glad these two good people were in the right place at the right time and kept their cool, likely saving many children’s lives.
Kenneth Corbin just took a routine training class to keep his school bus driving skills current. One of the topics they covered was what to do if your vehicle gets hijacked. Days later, that lesson came in handy when an armed gunman boarded his bus and ordered him to drive.
A surveillance video shows the South Carolina driver holding out his hands as the man, an Army trainee who was later identified as Jovan Collazo, pushed his way onto the bus and brandished a rifle. Kenneth calmly put the vehicle in gear and began to drive as Jovan kept the gun aimed straight at him.
When the gunman moved all the children inside to the front of the bus, it was their inquisitive nature that finally wore him down. The kids began peppering Jovan with questions.
“Are you an Army man? Are you going to hurt us? Are you going to hurt our driver?”
Kenneth believes it was their questions that eventually made Jovan demand that Kenneth pull over and unload his young passengers. He had only driven about 4 miles when the hijacker “got frustrated with the questions” and aborted his terrifying mission.
“At the very end, the kids were the ones who got the gentleman off the bus. They pretty much had my back as much as my concern was for them.”
The hijacking only lasted about six minutes, but it was more than enough to leave a lasting impression on their entire community. Kenneth was instantly hailed as a hero for the calm, deliberate way he handled the crisis.
South Carolina officials presented Kenneth with an award for his heroism, and school board member Dr. Teresa Holmes celebrated Kenneth’s calm under pressure.
“Our School Board and Richland Two School District paid honor to this wonderful man and his wife. His bravery and his kids’ bravery in the face of danger means so much to everyone in the community. Please thank him.”
Kenneth, however, refuses to take all the credit for the positive outcome of this scary situation. He insists that his kids “had his back” as much as he had theirs. Sounds like something a true hero would say, doesn’t it?
Courage + Compassion
Earlier this month at Rigby Middle School in the small town of Rigby, Idaho, a 12-year-old girl took a loaded gun to school, opened fire, and hit three people. Krista Gneiting, a math teacher at the school, was preparing her students for their final exams on the morning of May 6th when she said she heard a gunshot from down the hall. She said she looked outside her classroom and saw the school’s janitor lying on the floor at the end of the hallway. She shut the door as she heard two more gunshots.
“So I just told my students, ‘We are going to leave, we’re going to run to the high school, you’re going to run hard, you’re not going to look back, and now is the time to get up and go.'”
Gneiting said she was trying to help one of the students who had been shot when she saw the girl holding the gun. She told the wounded student to stay still and approached the sixth-grader.
“It was a little girl, and my brain couldn’t quite grasp that. I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.”
She asked the girl, “Are you the shooter?” and then walked closer, putting her hand on the child’s arm and sliding it down to the gun.
“I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand, and she allowed me to. She didn’t give it to me, but she didn’t fight. And then after I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug because I thought, this little girl has a mom somewhere that doesn’t realize she’s having a breakdown and she’s hurting people.”
Gneiting held the girl, consoling her until police arrived. How many lives might have been lost if Ms. Gneiting had not reacted with such calm and compassion? We will never know. Ms. Gneiting’s brother-in-law had this to say in a Facebook post …
What a courageous and compassionate teacher!
Little things mean a lot
Dr. Troy Littleton is a professor of neuroscience at MIT. Littleton runs a research lab at the college, and one of his graduate students has a 10-month-old baby that sometimes makes it difficult for her to be at work in the lab for 6-8 hours a day. Dr. Littleton solved the problem … he bought a small crib to put in the lab for baby Katie!
“My favorite new equipment purchase for the lab – a travel crib to go in my office so my graduate student can bring her 9-month old little girl to work when necessary and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done. Win-win!!”