Kickass Woman Of The Day: Antoinette Tuff, The Elementary School Clerk Who Convinced A Gunman To Surrender

Winona Dimeo-Ediger / August 21, 2013

If it weren’t for Antoinette Tuff, our nation could have been mourning another horrific school shooting. Yesterday morning, a gunman entered an Atlanta-area elementary school armed with an AK-47 and other weapons and told Tuff, who was filling in for a secretary in the front office, that he was going to die today. He asked staffers to call local news stations to film the carnage he had planned. But he hadn’t planned on meeting Tuff, who calmly asked his name and told him that he still had a chance to make this right. He refused to tell her his name, but Tuff kept talking: she told him about her own life and the difficulties she had faced in recent years. “I told him, ‘OK, we all have situations in our lives. I went through a tragedy myself,'” Tuff told ABC News. “It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could too.” When Tuff had built up enough trust with the gunman, she asked him to put down his weapons and surrender, and — miraculously — he did. “I give it all to God,” says Tuff. “I’m not the hero. I was terrified.” I must respectfully disagree about the hero part — Tuff’s calm and compassionate handling of this situation saved countless live yesterday. She’s definitely a hero. [NPR]