Man who walks 21 miles to and from work gets help James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Aveune in Detroit to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hill (AP photos)
Man who walks 21 miles to and from work gets help
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Hundreds of people have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to help a man who says he typically walks 21 miles to get to and from work.

The Detroit Free Press reports that James Robertson rides buses part of the way to and from his factory job in suburban Rochester Hills, Mich. But because they don't cover the whole route, he ends up walking about 8 miles before his shift starts at 2 p.m. He walks 13 more when it's over at 10. Lately, he's been getting occasional rides. A banker who passed him walking every day finally asked what he was doing. The banker offered Robertson a lift.

The newspaper wrote about the 56-year-old's situation. Then multiple people started efforts to help him buy a car and pay for insurance. Some have offered to drive him for free. Others have offered to buy or give him cars.

Robertson began making the daily trek to the factory 10 years ago. His car had stopped working and bus service was cut back. At work, he molds parts. He's had perfect attendance for more than 12 years.

"I set our attendance standard by this man," said Todd Wilson, 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 bull!"

Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old student at Wayne State University, read the story and started a GoFundMe site. The goal was to raise $5,000. As of Monday evening, he had raised more than $90,000.

Robertson said he was flattered by the attention. He's also amazed strangers would step in to help.

Asked about a federal program newly available through Detroit's bus system that might pick him up at home and drop him off at his job, Robertson said, "I'd rather they spent that money on a 24-hour bus system, not on some little bus for me. This city needs buses going 24/7. You can tell the City Council and mayor I said that."

Critical thinking challenge: What does Todd Wilson mean by this statement: "I set our attendance standard by this man."

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COMMENTS (222)
  • carolinep102
    2/08/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    This is astounding! I have never known that someone could walk this many miles to work. I am very happy that people care about issues that some people face. I can not imagine having to walk this many miles just to go to and from work. I have known some people that have to drive from Charlotte but they do not walk. Also I am very surprised that someone at his age could do this, I infer that he is very healthy from all of the exercise! This is very interesting.

  • SageR-Alb
    2/08/2015 - 03:53 p.m.

    I think its amazing that people will take time out of their lives to help someone and care enough to pay for his ride. If he was willing to walk that much every day he could be in a parathion.

  • AJ_Slater
    2/08/2015 - 04:24 p.m.

    James Roberson lives a few miles away from his work. He has a factory job and has perfect attendance while that may sound normal for a person who drives to work he has been walking to his work for the past 10. He walks up to 21 miles on daily basis and now his city has intercede and raised money to buy him a car and insurance. I think that this is really cool that the community has stepped in to help someone.

  • tonip-Koc
    2/08/2015 - 05:47 p.m.

    This man is an incredible person for walking that much everyday to get to work back and forth and always being on time, and having perfect attendance. Then that student raising money for him shows that some people in this world are very humble and humane.

  • alexisp-Fit
    2/08/2015 - 07:20 p.m.

    Todd Wilson is the plant manager at the plant at which this outstanding man works everyday. He has worked there for over 12 years and has never been late or missed a day. One of the reasons he is so outstanding is that he walks 21 miles everyday just to get to his work. These are just some of the reasons why so many people are helping him and why Todd Wilson uses him as an example for other workers. He says "I set our attendance standards by this man." This man is so dedicated to his work that he walks through rain, snow and heat at 2:00 in the morning and at 10:00 at night, so he can make it to work on time everyday. If everyone worked as hard as he did than we would never have to worry about slackers. This man works so hard everyday that so many people have joined together to make his life easier. They have raised over $90,000. They have really joined together to make a difference and that is appreciated by many different people.

  • JacksonC-Alb
    2/08/2015 - 08:51 p.m.

    I really like this story, it shows that anybody can do this kind of stuff, well not exactly that but they aren't too lazy. It annoys me that this man has been doing this and people still complain that getting the mail is too far away. I think this a really motivational story and more people should be like him.

  • JackR-5
    2/08/2015 - 08:53 p.m.

    A man in Michigan walks and rides the bus about 26 miles each day to get to work. People have come together to raise money for a bus that comes all the way to work. The federal government has offered to give him a personal bus, but he said he'd rather have a 24 hour bus service. People have come together to try and raise money and donate cars for him. He's been doing this for 10 years. I think this man shows the American spirit. He pushes through all the pain for a job, at least he isn't homeless.

    • jalyen4-man
      2/09/2015 - 11:05 a.m.

      He was not doing this for 10 years he has had perfect attendance for 12 so he at least been doing this for 12 years altogether.

  • thanhn-Koc
    2/08/2015 - 10:36 p.m.

    I'm surprised that some people would travel somewhere on foot. I'm even more surprised that this man would walk about 20 miles! I can't even imagine myself walking that long. Praise the man for his persistence in any difficult situation.

  • paigek-Koc
    2/08/2015 - 11:01 p.m.

    This is absolutely amazing. I love helping people and I wish I could of been of those people to help raise that money. I love seeing that people here are still kind hearted.

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