After what many would consider yet another instance of rejection and pain in a 52 years of existence, Houstonian Reggie Bibbs is taking a case of deformity discrimination and using it to fuel his own pursuit of self-acceptance.
Bibbs reportedly lives with neurofibromatosis, a disease which, according to medical professionals, creates fibrous tumors all over the victim’s skin, for most of their lives.
For Bibb’s case, the growths cover most of his face, including blockages around his left eye and cheek.
Last December, he accidentally fell into the spotlight after his story of calling for an Uber driver went viral:
He said he needed a ride to take him to the hospital for treatment of his disease; however, when his driver saw Bibbs’ face, he said the Uber drove away.
The incident with the driver was one of many Bibbs said he endured since his early childhood:
“The hardest part was in junior high. It was really tough to walk down the hallways,” Bibbs said in an interview with a local TV station. “I would eat lunch alone because I didn’t want to go in the cafeteria. That was a tough part of my life.”
One of his childhood aspirations was to be a baker, but a conversation with a school guidance counselor pushed him away from pursing his dreams.
“‘You will never be able to be a baker,'” Bibbs recalled the counselor telling him. “‘People will see you and think they can catch what you have.'”
Despite reliving these painful memories, the coverage of the situation brought awareness to his condition, which, again, is a genetic disorder and is not contagious by contact.
Today, Bibbs said he shares his culinary creations on social media, where he’s developed a following:
“He just started baking. As he baked, all his nieces and nephews loved his cakes,” his mother Dorothy Bibbs said in an interview. “They always say, ‘Uncle Reggie bakes the best cakes.'”
Bibbs also reportedly works with the Courageous Faces Foundation, a non-profit group with the mission of “creating a world where everyone is seen as a person first:”
“I love who I am,” Bibbs said. “If anybody can’t accept me for who I am then they are not worth the time.”