James Robertson is the Detroit man who recently gained notoriety when it was brought to the attention of the media that he had been walking 21 miles to work for the past decade. When the story went national, over $350,000 was raised to help Robertson purchase a car, and he was actually given a brand new Ford Taurus by a dealership in Sterling Heights to get him to and from work. Unfortunately, shortly after his story hit the media, James began to feel like himself and his car were no longer safe where he was living, and he reached out for assistance from the Detroit Police Department.
Robertson’s story was brought to the nation’s attention after UBS banker Blake Pollack had been giving rides to the factory worker for several months. Pollack decided, on an impulse one day, to just pull over and offer James a ride after seeing him walking for countless days. The two men became friends and still remain close friends, and Pollack has been helping Robertson meet with financial advisers to decide what to do with his sudden windfall of money.
Robertson had a car at one point, according to an article by the Inquisitr, but when that car broke down he was unable to replace it with his factory wage of $10.55 per hour, and since the bus service in the Metro Detroit area does not provide transportation to his place of employment, Robertson took it upon himself to just start walking. Despite having no car, and dealing with the ever changing Michigan weather, Robertson has never been late for a day of work, or even called off sick.
Part of Robertson’s decision to move had to do with the fact that he was being threatened with violence in the boarding house where he had lived for the past 15 years. His girlfriend, who had been his landlady was asking for money, as were several other boarders in the house, and James was being threatened if he did not give up some of his money. The other tenants in the house included Robertson’s girlfriends ex-husband, her son, and another man.
According to the Detroit Free Press, it was at that time that Robertson contacted the police and asked for some help. Detroit Police Captain Aric Tosqui contacted a local businessman and found a temporary apartment for Robertson to stay. He was also allowed to park his $35,000 car at the police station for safe keeping.
James is looking at moving to Oakland County closer to his place of employment near M-59 and Crooks Road.
When Robertson met with the police, he was given assistance in retrieving his personal belongings from his home. Five officers with garbage bags went into the boarding house to collect everything from the second story apartment. Robertson had been paying $220 a month in rent for the room in the Detroit North End neighborhood. James was moved to the New Center area for the time being.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the money for Robertson was raised by Wayne State University student, Evan Leedy. Leedy initially stated a GoFundMe account with a goal of $5,000 to help purchase a car for Robertson, but that goal was quickly surpassed when word got out what the money was for. Donations poured in from all over the country, and so did comments praising Robertson for his dedication and admiring his humble demeanor.
Robertson has stated to several media outlets that he hates to leave the city of Detroit, but is looking forward to this new chapter in his life. Hopefully the money that James receives will be able to assist him with things like car insurance, maintenance, gas, dental expenses, and some good investments that will enable him to lead a stress-free life.
[Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News]