Man who walks 21 miles to and from work gets help
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
Lexile: 1070L

Assign to Google Classroom

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., and 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.

After the newspaper wrote about the 56-year-old's situation, multiple people started efforts to help him buy a car and pay for insurance. Some have offered to drive him for free while 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 and 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."

Source URL:

Assigned 10 times

  • Ellar-McC
    2/09/2015 - 02:36 p.m.

    When Todd Wilson says this, he means that he put his companys attendance model on James Robertsons regular attendance schedule. He means that Robertsons attendance is as good as what he would tell anyone to do. He thinks James has the very best attendance out of anyone who works for him.

  • Allil-McC
    2/09/2015 - 02:38 p.m.

    What Todd Wilson means when he says, I set our attendance standard by this man is that if James can get to work on time every day, even when he walks twenty-one miles, so should everyone else! This guy walks through sleet, snow, rain, and extreme heat and some people can't even drive from ten minutes away. This statement basically means that everyone should be on time for work, because no ones has it worse than James.

  • SamanthaK-M-Rei
    2/10/2015 - 11:35 a.m.

    I think Todd Wilson means that if people have excuses about not being able to get to work, and they are only 10 minutes away that nonsense. If they are 10 miles away maybe he will be more understanding.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    4/04/2016 - 07:46 p.m.

    I think that I have heard of this man before. I am amazed that this man named James Robertson walks twenty one miles to go to work and back. That is an extremely long distance. Many people have heard about him and offered to help. James was really surprised by this. His car stopped working around ten years ago and he took the bus but it didn't cover the whole way. The people offered to give him cars and money. A fundraiser has given him more than ninety thousand dollars. His boss, Todd Wilson, said that he had perfect attendance for more than twelve years but some others who live ten minutes away can't make it on time.
    I think that Todd Wilson by saying that "I set our attendance by this many" means that people should be on time because a man who walks twenty one miles to work is on time.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment