Woman renovates school bus for paralyzed brother to live and travel in

Woman whose brother was paralyzed in a hammock accident spends $35,000 transforming an old school bus into a handicap-friendly home so her sibling can fulfill his dreams of seeing the world

  • Alex Scribner, 32, from Florida, got a call from her mother in 2016 and found out that her brother – Sam Scribner, 28 – had broken his neck in a hammock accident
  • The incident left him with no motion in his arms or legs. And afterwards, Sam was heartbroken over the things he wouldn’t get to do because of it
  • But his sister wasn’t going to let his handicaps stop him. They bought a school bus and Alex renovated it all by herself so that it accommodated Sam’s disability 
  • She spent a year and a half of her life fixing it up and in total, they spent more than $35,000 on the renovations 
  • Not only did she instal a lift so he could get in and out of the bus on his own, but she also added a kitchen area, a big bathroom, and two beds for them to sleep in
  • Now, they are road tripping around the world together while living in the bus 

A woman renovated a school bus for herself and her paralyzed brother to live in – after a terrible accident left him wheelchair-bound – and now, they travel the world in it together. 

Alex Scribner, 32, who is from Florida and founded a design company, got a horrifying call from her mother in 2016 and found out that her brother – video editor Sam Scribner, 28 – had broken his neck in a hammock accident. The tragic incident left him with no motion in his arms or legs.

Alex immediately flew home and put her life and career on hold to aid her parents in caring for her brother – who was in the hospital for three months, going from the ICU to an in-patient facility, and eventually relearning how to exist in a wheelchair. 

A woman renovated a school bus for herself and her paralyzed brother to live in – after a terrible accident left him wheelchair-bound – and now, they travel the world in it together

Alex Scribner, 32, who is from Florida, got a horrifying call from her mother in 2016 and found out that her brother – Sam Scribner, 28 – had broken his neck in a hammock accident

The tragic incident left him with no motion in his arms or legs. And afterwards, Sam was heartbroken over all the things he wouldn’t be able to do anymore

After the accident, Sam was heartbroken over all the things he wouldn’t be able to do anymore – but his sister wasn’t going to let his handicaps stop him.

She decided that they were going to go on a road trip together and see the world.

They bought a school bus and Alex renovated it all by herself – spending more than $35,000 in total – so that it accommodated Sam’s disability. 

Not only did she instal a lift so he could get in and out of the bus on his own, but she also added a kitchen area, a big bathroom, and two beds for them to sleep in.

Now, they are road tripping around the world together and living full-time in the bus. 

‘When Sam was in the ICU, one night he was just grappling with what his life is now, and he was really struggling with all the things he would never get to do,’ Alex recalled.

‘And I remember telling him that we were going to do a road trip. However it would happen, we would go on a road trip and see the biggest ball of yarn and stupid things like that.

‘Two years after the accident, I was his primary caregiver and we had some friends who were living in a van.

‘We were familiar and intrigued with the nomad existence, but we didn’t know how we were going to make it happen for us.

‘So I started doing some research and what initially drew my attention to a school bus was not only would we have more square footage, we [would be] able to hopefully install a lift on the school bus.

‘I pitched it to my brother and parents, and that is how we went on to purchase our first school bus in 2019.’

After working on the bus for a while, Alex and Sam met someone else in a wheelchair who wanted to do the same thing but didn’t have the means they did. So they decided to sell her the bus and start fresh. 

‘The first bus, I started renovating it and I got it a third of the way done when we met someone on Instagram,’ Alex explained.

‘She was also in a wheelchair and she also wanted to try the nomad lifestyle but she was having a really hard time making it happen.

‘And Sam and I had talked and we really wanted this not just for ourselves but as an option for anybody who wanted a shot at this life.

‘So we sold the first bus to her, and then we started over with our current bus, the second one we bought in 2020.’

Alex spent a year and a half of her life fixing up the second bus, she did all the work on it herself.

In total, they spent more than $35,000 on the renovations, but they weren’t in it alone.

People from all around the world pitched in and helped them – including companies like Home-Depot. 

Life on the road: Alex and Sam’s bus was officially ready to be moved into in May 2021, with amenities to make Sam’s life on the bus as comfortable as can be

Not only did she instal a lift so he could get in and out of the bus on his own, but she also added a kitchen area, a big bathroom, and two beds for them to sleep in

Still working: Alex is still adding to it, and is now in the process of building a dining area

‘We both had no money or any real plan, once we thought of the bus then we were really committed and dedicated to seeing it through,’ said Alex.

‘The first bus we put on layaway, we split it and spent four months saving up to buy it for $6,000.

‘The second bus, we had a jump start on from the proceeds of the first bus we sold.

‘By Christmas of 2020, our story had spread a little bit, and people knew what we were trying to do so [they] pitched in to help.

‘The biggest one was Home Depot. We got in touch with our local store and they were happy to support us and help us tremendously.

‘At some point, it set in that this bus isn’t just for traveling but this is something to live in so we didn’t want to skimp on anything.

‘We spent around $35,000 on the renovations alone, and I did everything in both buses myself – because this was something we wanted to take around the country, and it would be just me and my brother who lives in a wheelchair.

‘I wanted to know how everything worked so I would be able to fix it should something happen and not wait for help.’

Alex and Sam’s bus was officially ready to be moved into in May 2021, with amenities to make Sam’s life on the bus as comfortable as can be.

Getting out there: They are currently road tripping around the world together and living full-time in the bus

Alex concluded: ‘People assume that this kind of living would not be possible for someone in Sam’s position, but as you can see that isn’t true. So if you want a nomad lifestyle go and get it’

‘The most important thing was that Sam was able to move around and maneuver in the bus,’ Alex added.

‘He can’t do it as comfortably as he could in the house, but because of the lift, he can get it up.

‘It was also very important that Sam be able to access the bathroom and take a shower.

‘Selfishly that worked out for me because he needed a giant bathroom, so I got a giant bathroom. We needed a place for him to sleep, and a place for me to sleep.

‘I am also in the process of building a dining table area with a bench on one side and open on the other so he can get in.

‘In the kitchen, we did a similar thing, there is a drop-down countertop that works as a multi-use space for him.

‘We built it with the intention of him being independent and being able to get around.

‘People assume that this kind of living would not be possible for someone in Sam’s position, but as you can see that isn’t true. So if you want a nomad lifestyle go and get it.’

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