A South Carolina school bus driver is attributing his kindergarten passengers’ curiosity as part of the reason why an armed hijacker didn’t harm him or them.
Kenneth Corbin told Good Morning America on Monday (May 17) that an armed gunman boarded his bus while 18 children were aboard. The kids, Corbin said, helped keep them all safe during the six minutes the gunman was on the bus.
“The kids were the ones that actually got the gentleman off of the bus and they pretty much had my back as much as my concerns were with them,” Corbin said, according to a report by WBS-TV.
Corbin, who received hostage scenario training, said he tried to keep the hijacker off the bus, but the man brandished a weapon and told him to “close the door and move and drive.”
“It was just a matter of staying calm and following his instructions and thinking about the kids because I didn’t want to do anything that would, you know, rile him to cause him to do something that would bring harm to the kids,” Corbin said.
After a while, the kindergarteners started asking the gunman questions. “They asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one. They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said, ‘No.’ They asked, ‘Are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘No. I’m going to put you off the bus,’” Corbin said. “He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘Enough is enough already,’ and he told me to ‘Stop the bus, and just get off.’”
“At the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective were to get to the next town, but I think we were only on the road about four miles and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and get off. ‘All y’all get off now,’” Corbin recalled.
Police arrested 23-year-old Jovan Collazo, a third-week Army trainee at nearby Fort Jackson, for the hijacking. Collazo is still in police custody and faces two dozen charges including 19 counts of kidnapping.
Corbin said “it was so evident that they were precious cargo and I pretty much just had to do whatever ––– to get them off the bus safe and sound.”
“It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes,” Corbin said.
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