Donations are pouring in from across the nation in an effort to help a Detroit man who walks 21 miles during his daily commute to work.
The Detroit Free Press published a feature on Sunday about James Robertson, 56, and his long daily trek from his home in Detroit to Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills, Mich. Robertson is forced to walk much of the commute because bus routes do not cover the entire route, the Free Press reports.
Perhaps the most amazing thing: Robertson has a perfect attendance record after more than a dozen years. He earns $10.55 an hour.
His story had an impact on readers. Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old engineering student at Wayne State University, started a fund-raising site that had raised an astounding $115,748 as of Monday night. Leedy’s original goal was $5,000.
In addition, a nearby car dealership has offered Robertson a 2014 Chevrolet Cruz or Sonic, the Free Press reports. Robertson would have to pay the taxes only, about $900.
Others have offered cash, their own cars, bus tickets, and rides to and from work.
“Monday is gonna be some bad weather and I don’t want him making that trek,” said Stuart Sutherland, a student at Oakland University who offered to donate cash in an email, reports the Free Press.
Robertson had a Honda Accord but it quit on him in 2005. His co-workers say he seems to have settled into a routine and some have mixed emotions about the donations. UBS banker Blake Pollock, a friend of Robertson’s who has given him rides in the past, tells the Free Press he plans to set up a board “of several professionals” to oversee the donations.
“Putting a car in his driveway and just handing James the keys or filling his pockets with cash is not the answer. But with these resources now, we should be able to do something very positive for the guy,” Pollock said. “I think the hundreds of donors want this to go to James and not have this go out of his hands. So, if we can set up this little board to manage his money, I think that can happen.”