‘Parade of kindness’: Greenwood police chief honored for returning stolen go-cart to 5-year-old with cancer
GREENWOOD, La. (KSLA) - Greenwood Police Chief Shayne Gibson is traveling to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, March 8 to be honored for an extraordinary act of kindness.
Gibson is one of 15 law enforcement members being awarded the Heart of Law Enforcement recognition. The honor is presented annually by Beyond the Badge, a nonprofit that strives to honor first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Sometimes those moments come at the right time and help keep us in law enforcement,” Gibson explained.
That moment for Gibson unexpectedly arrived in Greenwood last fall, when his department discovered a stolen, red go-cart inside the bed of a 1960s Chevrolet truck, which was also stolen. Gibson learned the go-cart was taken from Tool, Texas, which is a little less than two and a half hours from Greenwood.
This is where Gibson’s story takes an emotional turn: that stolen go-cart belonged to the family of a little girl in the fight of her life.
“We learned the family was going through cancer treatments and was likely going to have to sell or forfeit the ATV [go-cart] because it was in the tow yard and they couldn’t afford to come get it,” Gibson said.
Not long before the go-cart was stolen, JoJo Scrivner, who was 4 at the time, was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma. Her parents, Quintin and Courtnee, told KSLA News 12 that JoJo had a love for that go-cart.
“JoJo enjoyed driving it, but she also enjoyed attempting to drive,” Quintin said. “You’re going 90 or nothing, which is basically JoJo’s lifestyle; so it fit her pretty perfectly.”
Courtnee describes her daughter as being passionately creative and endlessly sassy.
“I think you think you’re tough - everyone thinks they’re strong,” Courtnee explained. “I hope I can be half as strong and fearless as this girl is.”
So when the Scrivners’ go-cart was stolen, as JoJo was beginning her courageous battle with a disease no person should face, her parents were understandably frustrated.
“You stole from this kid and now there is going to be hell to pay,” said Quintin. “When we got the call it was stolen, it definitely added insult to injury.”
Of course, when Chief Gibson learned about JoJo’s story, his department coordinated with the community to repair the go-cart. According to the chief, Nowhere Kustoms and Services made the free repairs, Rainey Asset Management provided a trailer and Rials Towing waived storage and tow fees after it was recovered in Greenwood.
Working with Tom Brown, a retired Shreveport police officer, Gibson towed the go-cart back to Tool and the Scrivner family.
At the same time, the Scrivners knew the go-cart was recovered but had no idea what would happen next.
“We went outside and you started hearing the sirens,” Courtnee said. “It gets loud and louder and really loud.”
A parade of first responders from the Tool police and fire departments, as well as the Seven Points Fire Department, escorted the stolen go-cart back to JoJo and her family - highlighting the absolute best of humanity.
“She felt like a superhero, she felt like a character in a show,” Quintin said. “Everyone was there for JoJo.”
Courtnee, who was understandably overcome with emotion at the sincerity of the gesture, said it was a moment that felt surreal.
“They wanted to make sure she felt so special and they didn’t have to do that. It was straight compassion and love.”
Gibson never expected to be recognized for an act of kindness he’d repeat in a heartbeat. The response from JoJo was more than enough.
“Seeing that little girl’s eyes light up when the police cars and fire trucks come driving up ... it made what little effort we put forth worth it.”
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