While movies are filled with situations in which a bystander, played by one of our favorite action heroes, must rise to the occasion and take out the bad guys single-handed, we often look at those stories as if they’d never happen in real life. But they do. Cracked has six stories of extraordinary events and the ordinary people who performed in a manner you wouldn’t even believe in a movie. Tom Bennett was one of them.
Tom R. Bennett was the copilot on Trans Australian Airways flight 408 in 1960 when his flight faced the first midair hijacking in Australian history. The hijacker, Alex Hildebrandt, methodically checked off pretty much all of the villainous movie hijacker boxes by being a disgruntled Russian with a sawed-off rifle and a bomb that he had assembled in the bathroom, presumably after disabling the smoke alarm, which is also strictly against air safety regulations. He whipped out his lethal gun-and-bomb combination and began threatening everyone on board.
First Officer Bennett, rather than instantly cave in to Hildebrandt's demands, calmly approached the man and asked him to knock it off, which, while brave, is not a tactic that generally works on hijackers. Hildebrandt responded by firing a warning shot into the ceiling, to show Bennett he meant business. Bennett responded to that by punching Hildebrandt directly in the face with one hand while simultaneously ripping wires out of Hildebrandt's bomb with the other, disarming it.
There’s more to that story of bravery, and five others that will make you believe in ordinary heroes.