The nation certainly received an inspiring lesson in courage and cool-headedness from a school bookkeeper in Decatur, Ga.
Antoinette Tuff displayed authentic heroism in how she responded after being taken hostage by Michael Brandon Hill, who went to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy armed with an AK 47-style rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition.
In a recording of a dramatic, 25-minute 911 call, Tuff can be heard relaying messages back and forth between Hill and authorities before convincing him to surrender.
She can be heard telling Hill of her own struggles – including raising a disabled child and losing her husband – and reassuring him by saying he didn’t hurt anyone, hadn’t harmed her and could surrender peacefully. She even announced on the school’s public address system before Hill surrendered that he was sorry for what he’d done and didn’t want to hurt anybody.
Anyone who heard the recording of that 911 call would be hard pressed not to have been moved by the bravery and empathy she displayed during her ordeal. Her calm demeanor, caring voice and grace under pressure were quite impressive, certainly reflective of a strong and moral character.
Her quick-thinking averted tragedy that day. Her remarkable actions during a frightening ordeal reveal just how an average person can rise to do great things when a dire situation demands it.
Tuff has been humble about her actions, stressing that her faith helped her cope even though she was terrified inside. She is certainly an inspiration to us all.