James Robertson walks 21 miles to work every day to his factory job, 5 days a week, no matter the weather. His job where he makes plastic-parts is 23 miles away in Rochester Hills. There is no bus route that goes directly there, and no one that works with him lives anywhere close to him, so he can only take a bus partway there and partway home and has to walk the remaining 21 miles.
The strain of the hefty daily commute forced him to consume huge amounts of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola each day just to stay awake. “By the time Friday comes, you’re mentally and physically drained,” the Detroit resident said, telling the Detroit Free Press that he’s “extremely tired” by the grueling commute that leaves him only a couple hours to sleep each week night.
Robertson has led this life for the last decade, ever since his 1988 Honda Accord broke down on him. He has a perfect work attendance, and the humble man never complains about the distance.
While his job pays $10.55 an hour, well above Michigan’s minimum wage of $8.15 an hour, it still is not enough for him to buy, maintain and insure a car in Detroit.
When a front page story in the Detroit Press featuring Robertson’s incredible work ethic and humble spirit, Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old college student from Wayne State University studying computers, became inspired to start a campaign to buy a car for this wonderful Detroit man who walks a taxing 21 miles each day.
Leedy set up a GoFundMe page that was originally set at $5,000 to help Robertson get a car that will do the job and a few months of insurance. However, the amount raised so far has far exceeded expectations- it’s at nearly $300,000 as of Wednesday night- all raised for the hard working soft-spoken machine operator.
Robertson got to meet Leedy on Monday and told him, “I’m always going to be in your debt — I will never forget this.”