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Nanaimo man known for flying hills on shopping cart remembered at memorial

A well-known and well-liked man within Nanaimo’s street community who achieved his “15 minutes of fame” driving a shopping cart was memorialized at his funeral on Friday.

You may remember Terry George, whom many simply nicknamed “Bubba,” from a viral video where he drove a shopping cart up a hill in Campbell River a few years ago.

Things were looking up for George, who had finally secured a home, but now those who loved him are mourning his loss.

At a church in downtown Nanaimo, Friday family and friends gathered to remember the uniqueness.

Four years ago, a driver captured video of Bubba driving down the hill from Dogwood Street in Campbell River at 40 kilometers an hour.

The video quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views.

“Oh I like it. I’m famous. My 15 minutes of fame. Everybody saw me. Even my employee at John Howard. They saw me. They call me Bubba Andretti now,” Bubba said. in an interview shortly after the video went viral in June 2018.

Bubba told us that he often descended steep hills picking up and bringing back bottles.

Bubba grew up in Tahsis and was a survivor of Christie’s boarding school near Tofino. He could have received $10,000 compensation from the federal government, but he was not comfortable with that.

“He felt the government had done a lot of harm to the people, our people, and felt it would kill him,” said Rita George, his sister. “He said it would kill me to have all this money in my pocket.”

Bubba has lived on the streets for much of the past 20 years. He marked those he met.

“It was his strength of character. His humor. Her heart always shone with Bubba. Once you meet him, you remember him. It was impossible to forget her,” said Kiersten Stewart, who interacted with Bubba through her employment at the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Bubba was an icon in the city like many people. You see them walking the streets, you see him with his basket for years and now he’s gone and people will miss him,” said Gord Fuller of the Nanaimo 7-10 Club.

Bubba broke his hip shortly before May 25 when he died of a drug overdose. His family suspects he took fentanyl for pain relief.

“I used to tell him. Who loves you sweetie? You do. I loved him so much I’m going to miss him,” said Rita, his sister.

Bubba leaves behind six siblings among other loved ones.

He was 53 years old.

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