Detroit Factory Worker Walks 21 Miles To Work, People Rally To Help Raise $100,000 To Help Him

People often complain about their daily commute. But it probably doesn’t come close to what James Robertson, 56, has faced for the last 10 years. He walks 21 miles of his 46-mile commute, as buses cover only part of the distance.

He leaves at 8 a.m. to get to work for his 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift at his job at Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills, Michigan, then treks home again, not arriving until 4 a.m. He barely arrives home with little down time, then must trek out again the next morning, according to Yahoo! News, on February 2.

Robertson has been making the same four-hour commute each way ever since his 1988 Honda Accord died. Making $10.55 per hour at his job hasn’t allowed him to save for a new car, Robertson said. And he didn’t move closer to work since he and his girlfriend live in a house they inherited.

He very infrequently got rides because others had schedules that didn’t coordinate with his. And, because Robertson walked home in the wee hours of the morning through the dangerous area along 8 Mile, he says a prayer before leaving work that he would arrive home safe.

Amazingly, this dedicated man is never late. In fact, Todd Wilson, the plant manager at his company stated that he “sets the attendance standard” by James.

“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!” as stated in The New York Post on February 2.

“I keep a rhythm in my head,” Robertson said of his marathon-like commute and stays awake “by downing 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew and cans of Coke.” He noted that he tries to catch up on much-needed rest on the weekends if possible.

Despite his grueling schedule, James doesn’t complain, and can’t imagine not working.

But he is finally going to get a break. The Detroit Free Press published Robertson’s story and people really cared about this man, with thousands responded asking on Facebook how they could help him.


A 19-year-old computer science major at Detroit’s Wayne State University, Evan Leedy, decided to help. He set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Robertson to buy a car, the goal being to raise $5,000. Within an hour, more than $2,000 was raised. Amazingly, the campaign has raised nearly $100,000 via nearly 3,700 donations in less than two days. The money will be set aside for Robertson’s car, insurance, gas, and maintenance, Leedy stated.

A local car dealership in Woodhaven, Michigan, Rodgers Chevrolet, has offered to give Robertson a free car. “He gets to choose,” Angela Osborne, customer service specialist said. “We were just impressed with his determination.”

The Inquisitr noted that the Census Bureau showed that workers have long commutes, with over half a million of these workers facing commutes of over an hour-and-a-half.

Who says good things don’t happen to good, hard-working people?

[Photo courtesy WSB-TV Channel 2, Atlanta]