James Robertson, dubbed Detroit’s “Walking Man,” doesn’t have to walk any longer. After the man’s story went viral, people stepped up and now he’s got funds coming to him that should take care of all of his needs. In addition, he just got his first car in a decade, and cameras were there to capture it all.
The Detroit Free Press first profiled James Robertson and told the story of how, for the past decade, he has walked 21 miles each way to his factory job. The story went viral, and a Wayne State University college student named Evan Leedy decided to try to help. He created a GoFundMe page with the intent to raise enough money to help Robertson with a bit of money for bus fare or other transportation.
What nobody could have imagined is that people were so touched by Robertson’s story that they flooded the GoFundMe page with donations. The story was picked up, not just nationally but internationally, and the fund now has raised more than $315,000 for James.
Clearly, that fund could buy Robertson quite the car, but it didn’t even need to. On Friday, as the Detroit Free Press shared, Robertson was surprised with a car donated by Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights. Several car dealerships had offered cars, and ultimately things were arranged with Suburban Ford, as Robertson had said his dream car would be a red or burgundy Ford Taurus.
Aided in great part by Blake Pollock, a UBS banker who had already been helping Robertson with rides for some time, James was taken to the dealership to “get some brochures.” What he found when he got there was a team of cameras and a shiny new car, with both Pollock and Leedy there to take in the grand moment. The 2015 Taurus is said to be loaded with bells and whistles, and the dealership said it’s ensuring that it is taking care of all the taxes and other costs to ensure the vehicle is truly free for Robertson.
Despite all of the attention and excitement, Robertson couldn’t stick around for too long, apparently. He said he had to get to work, but apparently he had someone from the dealership do the driving as he’s a bit out of practice.
James Robertson inspired people around the world with his humble nature and dedicated work ethic, and despite all of the attention, that’s clearly not changing. He may have more than $315,000 headed his way via the GoFundMe campaign, but he’s still determined to get to his job on time. Pollock and Leedy have indicated that a team of advisors is being set up, per Robertson’s request, to ensure the money is handled properly. While some might imagine that Robertson would be anxious to take a few days off or even quit his job, it sounds like that’s not exactly his nature.
The GoFundMe page is still going strong, and people are still commenting everywhere online, cheering James Robertson on for his inspiring story. While it’s surely a bit overwhelming for him, people seem thrilled to be a part of the story that helps the Detroit man who had been walking 21 miles each way to work for a decade get a leg up now.
[Image via Stern]