On March 1 Robert Gibbs, a severely overweight man, uploaded a video to YouTube and went viral almost immediately. The video was a plea for help the day before Robert’s 23rd birthday. Robert talks about his struggle with weight and says, “I’m just trying to get some help from somebody.” Within twenty-four hours of uploading the video, Robert had about 200,000 YouTube hits, calls from news stations around the globe, and even calls from weight loss guru Chris Powell and Dr. Phil’s team—all thanks to YouTube.
Over the weekend, Robert’s emotional YouTube video spread like wildfire and has now racked up over 874,000 views. He explains that he has tried to lose weight on his own and just can’t do it. He feels like he’s a prisoner in his own body and wants help so he can live a normal life. He says, “This is my last chance, my last hope, one of them. I’m really scared I’m not going to be able to watch my niece and nephew grow up.”
The next day, on Robert’s birthday, CBS News visited the young man in his Livermore, CA home. Robert explains, “I made that video as a plea for someone’s help. I didn’t expect it to catch on the way it did.”
This outpouring of support thanks to YouTube is absolutely amazing. This poor guy with nowhere else to turn, who had all but lost hope about his condition posted a video to YouTube and within a 24-hour period his situation was totally turned around. Robert has received support from video viewers, previous Biggest Loser contestants and more. A representative from the Dr. Phil show told Mercury News, “We were contacted by the local (television) affiliate earlier this afternoon and immediately reached out to Robert in order to answer his call for help.”
Here’s hoping that Chris Powell, Dr. Phil and others can give him the help and support he needs to really make a change. Of course, we expect to follow Robert’s journey on YouTube.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.