Siblings plan to travel country, inspire others with 'Special Skoolie' bus

Retired school bus converted for handicapped access, cross country travel

By Paul Giorgio - Producer

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - When Alex Scribner made a promise to her brother that the two would travel the country she never imagined it would be in a decommissioned school bus. 

But as she lifts the hood on a  2005 Blue Bird Vision a smile and a look of satisfaction comes across her face.

"If I can learn about diesel engines than anything is possible," she said, laughing.

Scribner is talking about the "Special Skoolie," a retired 40-foot school bus that once roamed the streets of Detroit. Today, with the help of family and friends it's on its way to becoming a "skoolie," the slang term for an RV or mobile home conversion.

The two future adventurers are already planning their destinations.

"There's a skoolie community, a massive community globally. They're doing the same thing we're doing," Alex Scribner said.

Just the fact that it's a school bus would make it unique but the Special Skoolie will be outfitted for all the needs of Sam Scribner, a C-5 quadriplegic. 

In April of 2016, Sam Scribner, a U.S. Navy aeronautical mechanic, was spending time with friends. He was getting out of a hammock and lost his balance, falling. He broke his neck at the C-5 level and the  fall left the formerly athletic surfer a quadriplegic.

"I've done a lot of things, surfing, skating, dirt biking and for a hammock to pick me off is a little ironic, but I'm still able to laugh about it, crack a smile about it." Sam Scribner said, showing his incredibly positive attitude.

During his time in the hospital, Alex Scribner said her brother would talk about travel. She made a promise that it would still be part of his future.

"I didn't even know how it was going to happen, but I was like we're going to take a road trip. We're going to load up in the car and we're going to take a road trip," Alex Scribner said.
 
Soon after that Alex Scribner made the decision to quit her job and return home to Central Florida to care for her brother.

"I think that it's just what you do," Alex Scribner said. "Everything becomes black and white. When your family is hurt like that it's very simple. You just take care of your family. It wasn't giving up much, it was doing what you have to do."

Three years later a gutted giant yellow school bus sits on family property. The Scribners said the school bus was a perfect choice because it already had a lift. This model has one on the side, which will complement the final design, a design the two hope will give Sam Scribner more independence.  

Sam and Alex Scribner have gone back to school to learn trades they hope to use on the road. Sam Scribner is learning video production which will help him document and share their journey online. Alex Scribner is learning diesel mechanics to insure the Special Skoolie will remain on the road.

The two hope to bring the skoolie and handicapped communities together to inspire others.

"I want everyone to understand that this is something that's totally feasible I have no idea what I'm doing and we're still doing this. To be able to pass that story along would be incredible," Alex Scribner said. 

The Scribners have started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the needed repairs and upgrades.

You can follow their progress on YouTube and Instagram @SpecialSkoolie.

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