When faced with an emergency, one must remain calm because panicking affects a person’s ability to think critically and make good decisions. But because it is human nature to react emotionally to these kinds of situations, what usually ensues is fear. Even grown adults fail to maintain their composure most of the time. So just imagine when a group of children are faced with an emergency without a single adult around to help them. How do you think would they react?
You might get the answer from this story about two elementary students from Atkinson, New Hampshire. On a Tuesday afternoon, Nolan Barry, 8, and Thomas Mackeen, 9, were on their way home from school with three other students when their ride home took a turn for the worse.
According to Atkinson Police Chief Timothy Crowley, the driver of the bus who picked up the students from Atkinson Academy suffered a medical emergency and dropped to the floor right out of her seat. Worse, the bus was still in motion when this happened.
“I thought she was gonna wake up and do the bus thing again, but she never woke up,” says Nolan, who is a third-grader. When the two boys saw the driver fall while she was slowing to a stop, they immediately ran towards the front of the bus.
Nolan usually sits in front where he can see the driver, so he has some familiarity about the bus controls. “I forgot which yellow one to press,” Nolan said to the local ABC affiliate, WCVB. Fortunately, he figured it out just in the nick of time. “It was the one that you pull and spin it twice, and then let you it go.” he explained.
Nolan did just that and activated the emergency braking system, which made the bus stop and activated the red flashing lights.
But there was another problem; the driver was still unconscious, and the kids didn’t know how to open the doors. Being the oldest student in the bus, Thomas, who is in fourth grade, knew that he had to take charge. There were kids aboard the bus who were as young as first-graders, and he was able to calm them down and get them back on their seats.
Another student, David Silva, was also on the bus. Fortunately, his father, Jesse Silva, was just waiting down on the road for his child to be dropped off. That’s when he saw the kids banging on the windshield.
Jesse sprang into action and ran towards the bus, where he saw the unconscious driver on the floor. Michelle Chouinard, who lived nearby and whose daughter was also on the bus, joined him. She called 911 as Jesse was telling the kids to find a lever. They couldn’t, so he went to the back of the bus and successfully burst open the emergency door. The children were finally able to get out, but they were scared and worried about the driver. “They were all very shaken up,” Jesse recalled.
The paramedics began to arrive and took the driver to Parkland Medical Center. She was treated and released, but the cause of the collapse is still unidentified.
Things may have been a lot worse if not for Nolan’s and Thomas’ presence of mind, which is why the two boys are being hailed as heroes. But do the two boys feel like heroes? “Not like Superman hero. Not like that.”, Nolan told WCVB.
In a similar situation, a young boy and his stuffed toy became the key to saving his whole family’s life. 5-year old Robin Gunnett awoke to the smell of smoke coming from their airing cupboard upstairs. Immediately, he dashed into his parents’ bedroom and woke up his dad by hitting him on the head with his Mickey Mouse stuffed toy.
Robin said, “Daddy, my bedroom is on fire, Mickey wants us all to wake up.” His dad thought he must be joking, but when he sat up, he saw that there was an orange glow in the hall. Because of this little boy’s quick thinking, the family of six was saved from being ravaged in the fire.
The above stories are proof that regardless of their age, children are capable of discernment and quick thinking. Which is why we should never diminish what their minds, no matter how young, can produce and achieve. Watch the video below for the fully story.
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Photos & Video via WCVB-TV