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A hero from New Orleans

Posted by Richard on September 3, 2005

Greta van Susteren, broadcasting from the Houston Astrodome Friday night, interviewed a young man from New Orleans with an amazing story, along with some of the people he helped.

His name is Jabbar Gibson, and he’s a remarkable young man. New Orleans needs — this country needs — more Jabbar Gibsons.

Gibson, trapped in New Orleans and determined to do something to help himself and those around him, went to a nearby school with buses sitting outside. He found the room with the bus keys, matched a set to a school bus, and took the bus.

Gibson then loaded it up with 70 people, ranging from infants to the old and infirm, and somehow found his way out of the city safely. He’d never driven a school bus before, but he drove this one all the way to Houston. He’d heard on the radio that the Astrodome was taking New Orleans evacuees. The group pooled what little money they had to buy fuel and diapers.

(Fox News doesn’t seem to have the interview on their website, but the Houston Chronicle has a story, complete with a picture of the jam-packed bus, with Gibson at the wheel, arriving at the Astrodome.)

The group was initially denied entrance to the Astrodome because it was "reserved" for the "official" evacuees. But eventually, someone came to his or her senses, and they were allowed in:

They looked as bedraggled as their grueling ride would suggest: 13 hours on the commandeered bus driven by a 20-year-old man. Watching bodies float by as they tried to escape the drowning city. Picking up people along the way. Three stops for fuel. Chugging into Reliant Park, only to be told initially that they could not spend the night.

Every bit worth it.

"We took the bus and got out of the city. We were trying to get out of the city," James Hickerson said.

Several passengers on the bus said they took the matter into their own hands earlier Wednesday because they felt rescuers and New Orleans authorities were too slow in offering help.

"They are not worried about us," said Makivia Horton, 22, who is five months pregnant.

Thursday, in a rant about the situation in New Orleans, I wrote:

One of the grave weaknesses of our culture is that most people have come to believe that it’s not merely acceptable, but necessary and proper for them to completely surrender responsibility for their own safety and well-being to others. …

In the worst of times — and this is the worst of times in New Orleans — such helplessness and dependency can be deadly.

Jabbar Gibson took matters into his own hands. He stepped forward and took responsibility for his and his neighbors’ safety and well-being. Bravo! Someone in Houston should hire this young man, and fast!

UPDATE: It’s a weekend open trackback festival! Several bloggers have invited their compatriots to submit trackbacks to interesting posts they’d like to share, so I’m sharing this one (and hoping some readers will click through to my earlier post about the situation in New Orleans, which I humbly submit is worth reading).

So, if you’re looking for some varied and interesting reading, browse the submissions at:

basil’s blog
Cafe Oregano
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Point Five
Stop the ACLU

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3 Responses to “A hero from New Orleans”

  1. Anonymous said

    Damn your eyes, you are posting things before I have had first crack at them! I saw this story and was similarly moved by this young man’s act of intelligence, competence and decency. I was going to blog about this boy’s great deeds, but you beat me to the punch.

  2. Brad Warbiany said

    Wow. That’s really amazing.

    You’re right. Someone in Houston needs to give that kid a job, and quick.

  3. Boxing Alcibiades said

    I hear rumors that some asshat in NOLA wants to prosecute the poor kid… any confirmation?

    I wonder how you contact this guy? Congratulations of some sort are in order… but pestering aid workers in order to do so wouldn’t be all that helpful.

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