Detroit’s Famous Walker Gets a Free New Car

2014 Ford Taurus James Robertson

Sometimes we just need a feel-good story to get us through the week.

By now you’ve probably heard about the man in Detroit who has walked an incredible 21 miles every day for work. This wasn’t a once or twice fluke—James Robertson made the trek for 10 years. Assuming a 5-day work week, that’s 54,600 miles traversed on foot through some of Detroit’s toughest areas.

He walks because he could never afford to replace or repair the car that broke down a decade ago. Even still, Robertson arrives at his 2 pm shift on time, every day, and goes home at 10 pm.

For 10 years.

Naturally, when the Internet got hold of this story, things went berserk. Within days a fund was set up, and over $300,000 was raised for Mr. Robertson to buy a new car.

Late last week he received his gift:

A brand new Ford Taurus.

The video taken when he received the car is touching, and it’ll make you happy to be a fellow human. My question is: What happens with the other $270,000 that was raised? My hope is that it’ll go to helping other people in Robertson’s situation. Detroit has a plan for helping such people, but has been slow to implement it.

As a result of the attention raised by this story, the city has promised to boost a program it has for giving public transit to people like Robertson; Detroit had been sitting on more than $1 million in federal grants for years without using them until recently. I hope the rest of the money raised for Robertson goes toward funding that program and inspires other cities to do the same thing.

Now, to address the Taurus:

Several dealers stepped up to provide the car, but Robertson chose the Ford because it best represents who he is. He told the Detroit Free Press,

It’s simple on the outside and strong on the inside – like me.

That really is a beautiful thing.

What car best represents who you are?

-tgriffith

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