Lincoln, NE – For 12 years, those who frequent the parking garage at 11th and “O” have become accustomed to a perpetually friendly face. Jodi Wilbur says her favorite part of her job is making her customers smile. And she doesn’t mind being silly to do it. Whether Jodi is granting people their exit as the “Fairy Garage Mother” or offering help as Redneck Advice Columnist “Deer Santa,” she admits that she just does it to see people’s reactions to her silliness.
When Jodi isn’t brightening days with her glowing attitude towards life, she is improving the lives of others through her tireless volunteer work. She participates in a prison ministry program, is a cook for Charity Autos- a program that offers donation-based car repair by inmates, and is extremely active in church activities through Northern Lighthouse Ministries. Plus, in whatever spare time she can find, Wilbur knits and crochets items to donate to those in need. Although Jodi is very active through her church, she emphasizes that she’s not a “Bible-thumper,” she simply attributes her attitude and actions to the joy she finds in Christ.
If Jodi’s story ended here, it would be like countless others; benevolent souls helping others. However, it nearly ended before it began.
When Jodi Wilbur arrived in Lincoln in 1996, she was homeless and disabled, suffering from degenerative disc disease. She was told she would be in a wheelchair by age 40 and would never work again. For years, Jodi struggled with addiction, disability, and PTSD; then she found Jesus. She credits Christ with “saving her.” Her disability was not paying the bills, but through the power of her indomitable spirit and her Savior, Jodi got a job at the parking garage and worked her way out of the doldrums. Jodi says that her back is not completely healed, but it’s “much, much better.” She shares her saving grace with her customers each and every day through humor and love.
Twelve years later, Jodi Wilbur is still on the job, still being chipper, still being silly. She has received 12 stars for excellent customer service and has no plans to quit working anytime soon. She says being inactive makes life not worth living anymore. Jodi cast aside the thought of spending her life in a wheelchair; instead she opted to overcome her disability and share her blessings with others.
Even when homeless, Jodi said that Lincoln has always “felt like home.” If home is where the heart is, Lincoln’s pulse beats a little stronger having Jodi in it.
Pictured: Jodi Wilbur as "Deer Santa"
Reported by: Kendra Noller
Written by: Michael Reed From LincolnOnlineNews.com