There was no time to think, just time to act.
So that’s what Simon Grant did.
It has been more than two years since Warrant Officer First Class Grant took action, and last week the member of the Air Cadet Squadron 861 Silverfox in Abbotsford was presented with the Cadet Medal of Bravery from the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
He received the honour for his “outstanding valour as an air cadet, involving the risk of his own life to save others and maintain their well-being.”
The incident took place Oct. 10, 2009 in Fort Langley.
Then only 16, Grant and his fellow cadets were helping with the local cranberry festival, unloading and loading trolley buses, which were parked on an incline and filled with people.
The bus Grant was helping to load suddenly began to roll on its own, with no driver inside.
“The brakes failed. I heard a snapping, odd sound and suddenly the bus was moving,” he said.
Knowing there were passengers on board, Grant moved quickly.
“I just hopped on the bus and looked down at the pedals.”
At that time, he didn’t have a driver’s licence and didn’t know which pedal was which.
He chose correctly and managed to bring the bus to a stop long enough for the driver to catch up and take over. When he looked up, all 35 people on the bus were just staring at him.
“It was silent. It was very silent. Nobody knew what was going on. Then I just walked off the bus.”
By the time he stopped the bus’ progress, it had already gone over the curb and was about 10 feet away from an embankment, which would have sent it on a one and a half storey fall.
“It was no more than 10 seconds, the whole thing,” he said.
No one was hurt in the incident. Grant said he doesn’t like to think about what could have happened.
Last week’s medal ceremony was a huge thrill for him.
“My hands were numb. I don’t know how to explain it. Exciting doesn’t do it justice. There was a lot of emotion.”
This was not his first award. Grant has also received the Long Service Medal, Lord Strathcona Medal, Chief Instructors Award and the Legion Medal of Excellence.
Because he turns 19 later this month, the award ceremony was his last official event as a cadet. But he doesn’t think his involvement in the military has come to an end.
“I have an application into RMC, the military college. I want to be a logistics officer.”
He said his family has a long history of soldiers, police officers, correctional officers, paratroopers and more.
“My family has always been sort of military. ‘There’s never been a Grant out of uniform’ is pretty much the saying.”