But when Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a bus Monday, things didn't go according to plan.
A group of Kenyan Muslims shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.
The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses said.
The bus was headed to the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia.
The journey is such a security risk that most buses travel with a police escort.
In this case, however, the police car broke down and the bus continued on its journey, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya's interior cabinet secretary, said.
A few hours later, the militants attacked.
In the Monday attack, the gunmen ordered Muslim passengers to come out of the bus and separate themselves from the Christians.
There were more than 100 passengers on board.
The Muslim passengers refused.
They gave the Christian women their hijabs and helped others hide behind bags in the bus, passenger Abdiqafar Teno told CNN.
"They told them, 'If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here," he said.
A Christian man who tried to run away was captured and shot dead, Teno said. The driver of a truck, which was trailing the bus, was also killed.
The gunmen left, but warned they would return.
Nkaissery, the interior cabinet secretary, told reporters security forces were in "hot pursuit of the criminals."
Then he commended the actions of the Muslim passengers.
"We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion," he said. "We are one people as a nation. And this is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community."