UPDATE: James Robertson is now a quarter millionaire. The online fundraising campaign set up to raise money for the 56-year-old Detroit man who walked 34 kilometres to work everyday has been a massive success, with over $300,000 now collected in his name.
The original story continues below.
For many, the ability to walk to work would be a dream come true.
You get to wake up later, come home earlier, and you’re completely removed from the minor traumas of daily commuting (whether its on a bus or in a subway tunnel).
But for a man in Detroit, the walk to work is nothing short of a nightmare.
For the past 10 years, James Robertson has walked roughly 34 kilometers to get to work everyday (and we’re sure it’s uphill both ways, too). The factory worker is able to ride buses for part of the trip, but since they don’t actually service his whole route, Roberston is left to walk 13 km in the mornings and 21 after he gets out at night.
That’s probably more than you’ve walked for the entire month, right? His daily epic journeys began after bus service in the city was cut back, leaving him with no other choice but to rough it. The real kicker though? Robertson has had perfect attendance at work for 12 years.
“I set our attendance standard by this man,” Todd Wilson, a plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering told CTV News. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here — bull!”
The good news is, people finally began to take notice. Robertson has been getting occasional rides to work lately, thanks to a banker who passed him every day and finally asked what he was doing. But after a newspaper covered the 56-year-old’s story, things really started to take off.
Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old student at Wayne State University, was so touched by the story, he started a GoFundMe site with the goal of raising $5,000. By Tuesday afternoon, he had raised more than $200,000. The Detroit Free Press reports that residents have begun offering their own cars, while automakers Honda and Chevrolet were willing to give him a brand new one of his own.
As for Robertson’s reaction to all of this? He’s thrilled. All he could say after hearing about the crowd-funding efforts was, “Are you serious?”
Good luck paying that one forward.