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Taking the Wheel: The Story of Jabar Gibson (Times-Pic - Katrina)

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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 01:51 AM
Original message
Taking the Wheel: The Story of Jabar Gibson (Times-Pic - Katrina)
Edited on Tue Oct-18-05 01:53 AM by VolcanoJen
http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/...

I missed this yesterday, and thought that the rest of us who were fascinated with Jabar "Let's Roll!" Gibson's story during those horrific Katrinia days might be interested.

20-year-old Jabar commandeeed a schoolbus, picked up survivors along the way, and drove it all the way to Houston, where it was the first of the buses to arrive at the AstroDome.

Excerpt:

TAKING THE WHEEL
To some he is a thug, but to the 60 people on the school bus he commandeered as Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters rose, Jabar Gibson is nothing short of a hero.

HOUSTON -- Across the street from the Astrodome, in the alcove of a motel where the night manager sits behind bulletproof glass, a young man leaned against a faded stucco wall.

A grin crept beneath his wispy mustache when a stranger approached.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

His name is Jabar Gibson.

The first bus to arrive in Houston loaded with Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans was not operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or any other government authority. It was an Orleans Parish school bus, its driver too young to drink but already a convicted car thief. His cargo: 60 of New Orleans' poorest residents, the youngest a week-old infant and the oldest 59.

It was known as the "renegade bus." Gibson, 20, was its renegade driver.

Gibson acknowledges he stole the bus, although in what has become Katrina lingo, he "commandeered" it to rescue himself and his neighbors. While the storm's floodwaters ultimately did not advance into Algiers, there was no way of knowing that in the chaotic Tuesday morning after the storm. Water was filling up the east bank, Mayor Ray Nagin was on the radio that afternoon predicting several feet on St. Charles Avenue, and panicked residents crossed the bridge to the West Bank, telling tales of impending doom.

"The police was leaving people behind. I had to pick up people on the bus. The police didn't want to do nothing. We stepped up and did what we had to do," said Gibson, who declined to say more because he since has agreed to a movie deal that prohibits interviews.


Read On...
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gorbal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 02:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks
Great story :)
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm delighted to read that Jabbar Gibson has signed a movie deal.
He deserves it. I'm sending him good vibes to turn his life around and stay on the straight and narrow. But, no matter what, he's a real hero--flawed amd human but able to transcend the negative for a purpose bigger than his own life.
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. He gave us hope, bravery and ingenuity, when none was to be found.
He's flawed, and that's what makes it so easy to identify with him, too, I think. :-)
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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Aren't we all? ;-)
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Bernardo de La Paz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 04:37 AM
Response to Original message
5. I nominate Jabar Gibson for head of FEMA!
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ohio_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I'll second that nomination!
:thumbsup:
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DELUSIONAL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 04:45 AM
Response to Original message
6. with all the sad stories -- this one is a nice change
Fema screwed up -- the buses that survived the hurricane could have been used to start moving people out of New Orleans.

Whoever at Fema was in charge of getting people out of the Superdome etc. -- should be identified and fired, fined and jailed.
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aaronbees Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 05:29 AM
Response to Original message
7. What a beautiful story! Thanks for posting!
Been wondering what became of him and truly hope he makes his way to a better life and keeps "doing right." Loved this quote at the end, when he comments on his past. It really underscored that heroic acts come from real people, rooted in their failures and hopes to be better, or make a better place:

"That's in the past," Gibson said. "That ain't me. Everybody does wrong things. But right now I feel like I done something right."
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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. I remember watching CNN live when the bus arrived and they were
Edited on Tue Oct-18-05 10:19 AM by Pirate Smile
interviewing a man (the woman next to him never said anything but seemed to be trying to steer him away from the camera crew by the end of the interview) who arrived on the bus.

They were asking him about life at the Superdome, was he scared, what was happening in there, etc. He was trying to play along but it was rather obvious that he must not have been at the Superdome.

At the end, he just kept saying he was "so tired, so tired".

It was sad because he was in the middle of a disaster, nobody helped, they did what they had to to survive but he was put in a situation where he had to lie about it - when he really shouldn't have had to - the additional stress just seemed so cruel.

Jabar was chatting with the cops during this time.

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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
10. Jabar Gibson was a hero to the people he saved
Commandeering that bus and driving his passengers out of New Orleans took guts for this young man. He knew he was risking more trouble in his life, but it was the right thing to do. He had babies on the bus and a pregnant woman. FEMA didn't care

Judge Robert Eckels in Houston was an asshole, not assisting these people when they arrived. He has that same kind of Brownie FEMA mentality. Can't think out of a box.

Margaret O'Brien-Molina the head of the Red Cross chapter in Houston was also a hero but stepping up and making sure these people got shelter, whether they were an official bus or not.

Sonia
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MountainMamma Donating Member (192 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-05 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. Thanks for bringing this great story to our attention.
Isn't it great to hear about someone who saw what needed to be done during that cruel Katrina and DID IT! Jabar is my kind of man, a man of action. So many of us have been wringing our hands wondering what we can do to help and all we need to do is take a human look at things and needs, follow your heart and spring into action. Everyone can do something.

Thanks for the good post, Jen. Jabar is a hero. :thumbsup:
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