Put yourself in the shoes of James Robertson and walk 21 miles on foot.
About a decade ago, the Detroit man’s car quit on him and ever since then, he commutes 23 miles each way to work every day.
Robertson, 56, begins his daily journey at 8 a.m. to make his 2-10 p.m. shift. He works at Schain Mold and Engineering — a plastic-parts manufacturer located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He relies on public transportation, occasional rides from others and his two feet. Earning $10.55 an hour, buying and maintaining a car is out of the question.
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) February 1, 2015
“I don’t think what I do is big deal,” Robertson told People Magazine. “I do what I have to do to get to work in the morning. It’s just a part of my life.”
According to People, Robertson is never late for work. It takes him about four hours to get there and on his way home late at night, his walk and commute is extended due to limited public transportation. After the Detroit Free Press profiled the determined man, many were inspired to offer a helping hand — one person especially, Evan Leedy — a student at Wayne State University — set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money that will go towards purchasing a car. In just a short two days, over $150,000 has been raised, surpassing a goal of $25,000.
The two met shortly after the account was set up and Robertson expressed his gratitude towards the college student, telling him “I’m always going to be in your debt.” Leedy shared with Robertson what people were saying online.
Robertson told the Detroit Free Press he was not completely surprised by everyone’s generosity.
“I gotta say, this is Detroit, this is how people are in Detroit,” he said. “They say Los Angeles is the city of angels. That’s wrong. Detroit is the real city of angels.”
According to Leedy, car dealerships such as Honda and Chevy have reached out expressing that they want to donate a car. This way, the funds can go towards something else he may need. Amid the over-pouring support from strangers, Robertson is humbled by everyone’s effort.
“I have to be careful how I act about this,” he said. “The same God who brings you all these blessings can take them away.”