A group of kindergartners and their relentless curiosity saved the day in Columbia, South Carolina when their school bus was hijacked by a gunman. School bus driver Kenneth Corbin was carrying 18 children when a gunman hijacked their bus earlier this month. Although they were terrified, Corbin revealed in a recent interview that it was their inquisitive and innocent little minds that ultimately saved their lives.
"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 told Good Morning America about the May 6 incident. "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.’”
According to Corbin, questions the kids asked the hijacker included if he was a soldier, which the gunman hesitantly replied "yes." They also asked why he was doing this and if he was going to hurt them or their bus driver. "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," Corbin recalled to Good Morning America, adding they only traveled four miles.
The armed hijacker was a 23-year-old Army trainee from New Jersey who police believe was trying to get home, according to NBC News. He was arrested and faces 19 counts of kidnapping, among other charges, local news affiliate WIS reported.
Corbin isn’t the only adult to report that the kids on the bus confronted the hijacker with questions. "They were upset, they were scared to death," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told reporters. "For six minutes they were traumatized, six complete minutes the bad guy was on the bus with a gun ... the kids started asking lots of questions if he was going to hurt them or the bus driver."
Corbin, who was trained to handle hostage situations just weeks prior, told Good Morning America that his main priority was to get the kids off the bus safely and it seemed that priority was equal. "It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that's why I refer to them as my heroes."