A Most Tiring Commute – Detroit Worker Walks 21 Miles Every Day to and from His Workplace

If you’ve been complaining about having to drive long hours to and from work, wait till you hear about this Detroit worker’s commute. For the past 10 years, James Robertson has been walking 21 miles a day, just to get to work. What’s even more remarkable is that he hasn’t missed a single day of work so far.

For five days a week, 56-year-old Robertson walks from his home in Detroit to the factory where he works in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He began the arduous commute ever since his 1988 Honda Accord conked out over 10 years ago. He claims that his $10.55-an-hour wage is not sufficient for him to buy another car, and there’s no decent bus service either. So he just covers the 21-mile round trip to and from work on foot.

“I set our attendance standard by this man,” said Robertson’s boss Todd Wilson, a plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well, I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here. He’s never missed. I’ve seen him come in here wringing wet.”


Photo: video caption

“We are very much trying to get James a vehicle,” Wilson added. “If I can get away, I’ll pick him up. But James won’t get in just anybody’s car. He likes his independence.” Robertson’s coworkers have pointed out that he just seems to like his routine, after all these years.

Robertson’s unique story was recently covered by the press, and it soon went viral. After reading about the man’s sheer toughness of spirit, college student Evan Leedy was deeply moved. The 19-year-old lives and works in two different counties, so he understood the brutal commute, even though he has a car.


Photo: video caption

So Leedy decided to set up an online fundraiser to get Robertson a new car. Since his first car cost him $3,000, he set the goal for the GoFundMe campaign at $5,000. Within an hour, he managed to raise $2,000. The fundraiser has now blown past its original goal, and now stands at over $250,000 – raised by 10,000 people in only two days.

“The money that is being given to him – he earned every penny of it,” Leedy said. And to stop people from taking advantage of Robertson’s newfound celebrity and his generosity, his friend Blake Pollack has has put a team together, including an attorney and a certified financial planner.


With the money that he’s receiving, Robertson will not need to walk to work any more, and he probably will get a lot more sleep. He revealed that he has no plans to change jobs though, because he loves his work. “I can’t imagine not working,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always done.”

Robertson added that he never expected his story to garner as much support as he has received, and he hopes that people will pay it forward. “If this story will touch at least one person and inspire them to do something out of the goodness of their heart, I will be the happiest person alive,” he said.

Sources: Detroit Free Press, CNN

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